By GRACE GADDY
For Palestine residents, Black Friday seemed to be a toss-up between the calm and the storm.
During peak doorbuster hours, a parking space was hard to come by — just ask anyone who happened to be at Palestine Walmart Thanksgiving evening — while other times offered a still shopping atmosphere.
Local resident Jennifer Willmot was among the adventurous crowd.
She braved doorbuster deals at Walmart and J.C. Penney Thanksgiving evening, and was up again the next day at Bealls department store, with an arm full of toys for her nephew.
“You know, I'm just looking for last-minute deals,” she said.
Willmot joined the crowd at Palestine Walmart about 45 minutes before 6 p.m., when door-busters officially kicked off. She had come prepared with a relative's list in hand but chose to change directions when things got a little, well, out of line.
“Walmart was really chaos. We were in line for sheets and a fight broke out,” she said.
While the price was a good one, Willmot got out of the rush. “I was like, 'No, thank you,'” she said of the experience.
But is the annual shopping event still worth the chaos? Willmot thinks it is.
“I think it's fun when you take family and friends,” she said — as well as the obvious perk of stretching her dollar. “I believe in coupon-ing and all that good stuff. Whenever I can save a penny, I'm going to do it.”
For others, a frosty Friday seemed preferable to the earlier shopping storm.
Norman Thompson and his son, Greg, were among a number of customers breezing along at Lowe's in Palestine on Black Friday.
“We're just looking for a gas grill — a barbeque pit,” Norman said, “and looking for the best value.”
“And enjoying the sunshine!” Greg chimed in.
By mid-morning, the frost had melted and the crowds of Christmas past were nowhere in sight.
Accordingly, Anna Kempf, another customer at the store, said she was “pleasantly pleased” at how calm her Black Friday shopping was going.
Downtown shop owners observed a peaceful atmosphere as well, including L & L Shoe Store and Charles Dickens Fine Jewelry & Gifts.
Linda Dickens of Charles Dickens Fine Jewelry & Gifts said most people were just enjoying time at home.
“Everybody that has called me this morning... says, 'Well, we're coming downtown, (but) we're drinking coffee right now,” she said with a laugh.
After all, there's still 25 days to snag those gifts.