AUBURN — Outside Kohl’s, it was an hour to the midnight opening and it was So. Darned. Cold.

Ryan Decker of Jay sat at the front of the line, her face peeking out from her father-in-law’s military sleeping bag rated for 40-below weather. Beside her, Joline Vachon and Shantel Fournier huddled in chairs around a propane heater, the women helping to keep warm by cracking each other up. 

“I’m really comfortable, but everyone else is slowly dying,” quipped Decker.

Fifteen-degree weather and a stiff wind cut down on the traditionally long Black Friday lines Thursday night with more shoppers waiting in cars until minutes before doors flung open and midnight sales got underway. 

It was a night for the shopping-hardy.

Decker had been in front of Kohl’s since 8:50 p.m. for a sweet deal on comforters and this year came extra prepared, bringing a strap to drag eight of them behind her in the store while she shopped.

“We buy a jacket every year, towels, shoes,” Vachon said.

They were all rooting for a father in line behind them who had three children at home with autism and was hoping to grab an Xbox for the kids.

“I feel like it’s really important to us that he gets it,” Decker said.

“We all get along over here,” echoed Vachon.

A block away, Caitlin Colby was a welcome sight in front of JCPenney. It was her first Black Friday run as a Domino’s Pizza driver delivering hot lava cakes to people waiting in line.

The Auburn store planned to give out 500 of them.

“We’re heading up to Kohl’s and then we’re heading up to Walmart because Walmart is where it’s at,” Colby said. “We want to make sure everybody gets a little something.”

Carry Gosselin of Lewiston, the first in line at JCPenney with her friend, Deborah Levesque, also sat huddled around a propane heater. She’d gotten there at 7 p.m. It was the coldest Black Friday night she could remember.

Sure, a lot of the same sales were available online, Gosselin said, but some stores have unadvertised deals, and some, like Penney’s, have special handouts at the door and there’s just the rush of being part of the night.

“I love giving gifts. You get really good deals,” she said. “I like seeing the people, too.”

Destiny Scott of Lewiston said it was worth it to stand in line for a few hours for the $60 savings on the Luvabella life-like doll for her 3-year-old. She wore two pairs of leggings under sweatpants and draped a quilt over herself and friend Ciarah Declet.

“Florida sounds nice about now,” Declet said.

Carolee Taylor of Lisbon maintained her 10-year-plus streak of being first in line at Walmart, arriving at 11 a.m. She was leading a party of four shoppers with six shopping lists, none of them hers.

“Actually, it’s selfish in a way,” she said. 

If Taylor shops for them, she doesn’t have to host, cook or clean up after Thanksgiving. Her future grandmother-in-law, Melissa Gagne, brought a hot meal to her in line.

The family had chairs, blankets and a blue tarp to block the wind. The wind was coming from so many directions, the latter didn’t work.

Taylor was undeterred, planning for Black Friday 2019 before the doors even opened this year.

“Next year we’re bringing the projector — we’ll watch TV off the side of the building,” she said.

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Nicole Barry, left, of Greene, Autumn Mercier of Turner, Dallas Parker of Greene and Malissa Hicks of Auburn wait for Walmart in Auburn to open at midnight Thursday. “Toys for nieces and nephews” was what the ladies said was worth the wait in frigid weather. “Hoverboards, Hatchables, LOL Dolls and Tupperware. We need Tupperware,” Parker said. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Ryan Decker of Jay waits outside for Kohl’s to open at midnight wrapped inside her minus 40-degree sleeping bag. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

A Walmart employee speaks with Carolee Taylor of Lisbon just before the midnight opening of Walmart in Auburn on Thursday. Taylor was first in line when she set up her chair at 11 a.m. Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Shantel Fournier, left, of Auburn and Joline Vachon of Lisbon Falls sit with their propane heater while waiting for Kohl’s in Auburn to open at midnight Thursday. Fournier and her aunt are Black Friday regulars. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Laurie Morneault of Oxford counts down the final minutes before Walmart opens at midnight in Auburn on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Amanda Sprague, seated, of Durham, Laura Glaser, back left, of New Gloucester and Cheryl Jalbert of New Gloucester try to stay warm as they wait in line outside Walmart late Thursday night. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Cheryl Jalbert of New Gloucester drinks tea to stay warm Thursday while waiting for Walmart in Auburn to open at midnight. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Debra Levesque, left, and Carry Gosselin, both of Lewiston, sit in front of a propane heater late Thursday while waiting for JCPenney to open at midnight. Gosselin waited five hours in the cold and Levesque waited three hours for the shopping to begin. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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