UNITED STATES—Well, Black Friday, um, Grey Thursday as it has been appropriately coined has officially come and gone, and we have another 360 plus days before it arrives again. For myself, it has been a tradition in the family for years, at least 20 plus years for myself if not longer. And 2016, was no different, except, I was quite surprised by the turnout this time around compared to 2015.

For starters, it was evident from the roads that not many people ventured out during the mid-afternoon hours when most of the stores opened. The first major store opening was around 3 p.m. We arrived about 45 minutes before opening, and it was quite packed to say the least. My biggest frustration was there was no sign of organization whatsoever at the retailer; I mean none. I was specifically annoyed by the fact that people would get in line, and then out of nowhere, other ‘patrons’ in their party would just invite themselves to take cuts in front of people.

No, I’m not referring to 1 or 2 people; I’m talking 10-15 people. That’s a problem, especially for people who got in line and waited patiently for the doors to open. That wasn’t the only problem, because once the doors opened, patrons flocked to the doors, but security was certain to halt people from just plowing in front of those who had been waiting patiently in line. I was baffled, just baffled America by WHY so many people would choose to bring their children and I mean children (less than 10 out on this crazed shopping day). They cause chaos, and I’m sorry, but Black Friday is not a day to bring the kiddies to the mall, leave them at home or just don’t venture out.

So many people brought their kids because they suspected their kids would get the free coupon giveaway, well not so fast. Because the retailer was not handing out coupons to kids, so those adults weren’t too pleased, but that’s what they get for assuming otherwise. The madness spilled from one store to the next, because I couldn’t believe how so many people trashed lots of the merchandise at some of these stores. I went in, found the items I wanted and was on my way. I knew what I wanted, where it seemed a lot of other customers weren’t too aware of that.

My other big pet peeve was those retailers who gave the impression they had tons of items that were door busters, but as it turns out, they only had 4-5 items. Frustrating, was not alerting patrons of the issue until we were in the doors. Yeah, I’ll mark that store off my list for 2017. However, there is one retailer that never seems to disappoint me, and that’s Target. Every year, and I mean every year, if there is a door buster item I’m looking for, I always find it and have no trouble obtaining it. I could have been the 10th person in line at almost all the big retailers that I stopped by.

The only retailer that drew me crazy was a major chain that continues to utilize mail-in rebates as a way to deceive the consumer to thinking he or she is paying less. Guess, what, it creates utter chaos at the register because people want to argue when it’s clearly depicted on the display and in the ad what the price is. Yeah, that was a store, where I immediately changed my mind about purchasing a single item, just didn’t have the patience for the chaos this time around.

All, in all, in nearly 8 hours of shopping, most waiting in line before the stores opened, I completed more than 75 percent of my Christmas shopping, but at the same time, I was also able to purchase a few nifty items for myself. There is no fun doing shopping, if you’re not purchasing an item or two for yourself at the same time.  Black Friday 2016 was fun, but I noticed more people didn’t venture out to far beyond the 6 p.m. time frame. So it is indeed true, Turkey Day and spending time with family is more important than nabbing a deal.