AUBURN — One might think that sleep deprivation on Black Friday would make for cranky people.

But local shoppers and store workers seemed to be in festive moods. With visions of savings dancing in their heads, people took advantage of time-limited deals including 50 percent or more discounts.

Black Friday online shopping, multiple days of sales, midnight openings and staggered openings helped make scoring deals a bit less hectic.

There were lines, but stores seemed prepared with staff, merchandise and occasionally, security. Best Buy was among the stores that hired off-duty Auburn police officers.

According to the National Retail Federation, the Black Friday weekend will be the biggest of the holiday shopping season with an estimated 135.8 million people shopping.

A little after 5 a.m. Friday — still dark outside — Kmart worker Donna Mottram of Hebron walked past an aisle and saw merchandise where it didn’t belong.

“Is that yours?” she asked with a smile. When told no, she scooped it up to put it in the right place.

Mottram’s 12-hour workday started at 5 a.m. “I’m in the second wave,” she said.

A Kmart employee for more than 25 years, Mottram said she loves Black Friday. “Everybody’s happy. They’re out to shop and have a good time. They’re in a good mood.” Working 12 hours is a long shift, “but it’s only once a year,” she said.

Kmart opened at midnight. Store Manager Joyce Beane arrived at 10 p.m. Thursday with her overnight crew to get ready. The opening “was awesome,” Beane said.

Mottram said overnight sales were steady.  

“I asked,” she said. “You want to know what you’re getting into.” Steady is better than bombed; it means more sales and “you can take care of the customers better,” Mottram said.

Denise Lane of Mechanic Falls began shopping at 4 in the morning with Cassidy Brown of Auburn. Teasing Brown, she said, “We set our alarm clock for 11 last night, but someone snored through it.”

Lane pushed a cart full of toys. Her son, Cooper, 3, will get a fully loaded work bench, Paw Patrol toys, trucks, cars and tractors for Christmas.

Kmart’s layaway helps. “I don’t have a charge card,” Lane said. “It’s easier to budget a weekly paycheck than pay all at once.”

At Best Buy before the midnight opening, shoppers stood in line for hours. There seemed to be order and even the holiday spirit.

First-in-line Danielle Martel said she got there at 1 p.m. Thursday. At one point she had to go home and feed her dog. She asked fellow line-standers whether it would be OK if she left to feed her dog. Would they save her place? They said yes, she said. “It’s really a great crowd.”

There were smiles before midnight at Wal-Mart as people waited for the opening. Ryan Frist, who was near the front, came to get a trampoline and a Fitbit. Jessica Drennan was there for toys. “I am here for the small people,” she said.

Seven hours later, Edward Little Assistant Principal Jim Horn was at the checkout at JC Penney. “The deals are outstanding,” he said. “I came in to get a shirt and a coffee maker.”

He got up at 4:30 a.m., “my normal time.” Hours after the store opened, shopping was easy, he said. “There’s still stuff left over. There’s not much hurrying around.”

After JC Penney, he was heading to The Home Depot and Kohl’s.

At Kohl’s, Dolly and Brian Soucy of Lisbon were shopping with Patty and Alan Cantin of Monmouth. The women are sisters.

“We’ve got grandkids, grown kids,” Brian Soucy said. “We’re looking for a well-rounded mix of stuff.” The sisters selected toys for their grandchildren, Barbie campers, “Operation” and “Connect Four” games.

The deals were good, Dolly Soucy said. She held up twin memory-foam pillows as if showing off a trophy.

The pillows retail for $69.99, and were on sale for $17.99, she said. “More than half off!”

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What we have so far:

Top toys for boys:


2. Star Wars

3. Cars & trucks

4. Video games

5. Hot Wheels

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

7. Xbox One

8. PlayStation 4

9. Nerf

10. Marvel action figures

Top toys for girls:

1. Barbie

2. Disney’s “Frozen”

3. Dolls

4. Monster High

5. American Girl

6. My Little Pony

7. Shopkins


9. Disney Princess

10. Star Wars

Source: National Retail Federation

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