Shoppers begin the shopping vigils early
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent November 25, 2011 12:30PM
Toni Kosaris of Downers Grove, Ill. (left) and her sister Deena Demetriades of Staten Island, NY regroup after shopping at Michael's on Black Friday in Highland, Ind. Friday November 25, 2011. The sisters, who were in town to visit their mother in Schererville, planned to meet up with Demetriades' husband and kids who were hunting deals at Best Buy, Game Stop and Dick's Sporting Goods nearby. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 25, 2011 10:41PM
From where he was sitting, Steve Vulpittawas positive he had the bragging rights to being king of the dueling Black Friday shopping lines.
Out in the cold since 3:30ish Wednesday afternoon, Vulpitta, a 20-year-old from Hobart, sat outside a tent among friends outside Best Buy in Hobart Thanksgiving evening, waiting for the vaunted doors to open at midnight. And he issued a challenge.
“Ask them what day they got there,” Vulpitta said with a satisfied grin meant for the shoppers waiting at Toys R Us nearby. “I hear it was 11 a.m. today.”
And he was right: Jamie Leonard and Amanda Marks, of Hobart, had gotten there about 11 Thursday morning to be the first in line at the toy store. Close behind were Crystal Mayer and Melissa Fernandez, of Crown Point, and Keoshia Jackson, of Lansing, Ill. The would-be shoppers huddled around Mayer’s golf-cart heater with a sign that read “Occupy Toys R Us.”
But in Vulpitta’s pride at his hardcoreness, he overlooked Maria Shoemaker, of Highland.
“I’ve been out here since 3 p.m. Tuesday,” said Shoemaker, clearly the queen of theU.S. 30 retail corridor, and perhaps all of Northwest Indiana. “I was the first person at Best Buy, and then I came over here while my husband, Jim, is over at Best Buy now.”
The Shoemakers’ 8 year-old son, Kaleb, has special needs, so they thought one of the 42-inch flat-screen TVs Best Buy offered for $200 on this holiday season kickoff shopping day would be useful to help him keep focused. Good prices on tablets for Kaleb and their daughter at Toys R Us sealed the deal for the couple.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do when they’re teenagers,” Maria Shoemaker said.
Jennifer Roberson, of Crown Point, was running on little sleep since 5 p.m. Wednesday, when she and daughter Sarah Trieglaff planted themselves in front of Best Buy for a flat-screen TV and an Xbox. Roberson, an accountant, figured the $1,000 savings in a span of 31 hours would take the sting out of going on no sleep and having to use gas-station restroom facilities.
Plus, Roberson teaches her family to be thankful every day, so exactly when they gather for Thanksgiving isn’t important. Sharing, though, is important to Roberson. She extended her home and a holiday meal to a couple of young people who discovered Black Friday is a safe way to avoid police harassment while waiting for a wire transfer .
“We’re trying to get to Virginia for the holidays, but now we can’t go anywhere because hitchhiking’s illegal in Indiana,” said Geri Davis, of Redding, Ca., traveling with friend Danyel Banyon “We set up our tent here so no one could bother us.”
A rousing game of Uno helped the hours tick away for Aleks Trifunovic, of Crown Point, with pals Bojan Martinoski, Luben “Platinum” Angelovski, Dan Kucuck, Stefan Veljanoski, Naum Muvceski, Nick Byrd, all of Crown Point, and Pat Knoblock-Wilson, of Cedar Lake,. Byrd went so far as to haul a bigger table from his truck for the growing crowd at Best Buy.
“If there was a tent, we’d be playing Monopoly,” Trifunovic said.
Back at Toys R Us, Maria Shoemaker threw down the gauntlet for those who would question her supremacy at the Black Friday game.
“Bring it for next year, Steve,” she said.