The Black Friday shopping experience is a big, mixed bag of savings and safety issues. Milwaukee’s Melanie Rice and Bryan Zysk know this firsthand.
In 2009, Rice went to a Best Buy at 4:30 a.m. to get a good deal on a Blue Ray DVD player. She was sixth or seventh in line and waited in the cold with a thermos of coffee until the door opened.
"I was under the impression it was a mellow crowd," says Rice. "People were joking around in line, singing Christmas carols even. But when the doors opened, all hell broke loose."
Rice says she did not run, but walked quickly to the DVD section, where she saw the model she was interested in. She went to take it down from the shelf and a large man stepped on her foot, pushed her aside and grabbed the box.
"I was so surprised, by his grabby-ness and by how much my foot hurt," she says. "I said to him, ‘Hey, I think you broke my foot!’ But he was already gone."
Turns out, Rice did suffer a fracture on a bone in her foot, and spent the rest of the holiday season and the first month of the New Year in a cast.
"I still shop sometimes on Black Friday, but I stay away from the early morning crowd," she says.
Zysk’s Black Friday tragedy happened in 1998. His mom wanted a Furby – a talking creature that was the big must-have toy that year – for a friend, and she asked Zysk to pick one up for her at Walmart.
Zysk went after a gig, and found himself sixth in line at 3:30 a.m. Like Rice, Zysk did not expect that the same people who were so mellow in line would break into a mad dash when the doors opened, but they did.
"The clerks started yelling, ‘Slow down, you'll get hurt!’ which no one heeds," he says. "Then I pick up my speed thinking I'm not going to get one. I make it to the toy section and manage to grab one of only 30-some they had in stock."
On his way out the door, a woman tried to pry the Furby from his hands. "I kid you not," says Zysk. "I then cradle the Furby like a football and run all the way out to the car. When I reach my car, I'm out of breath, tired, sore and psychologically damaged from the one and only time I Black Friday-ed."
The "hot toys" for 2015 are Barbie Saddle ’N’ Ride Horse, The Light Changing Anakin Lightsaber, The Pie Face Game, Little Live Pets Cleverkeet and a jumbo talking Minion.
"I make a point of trying to buy things that are completely unpopular or one of a kind," says Rice. "Less chance of injury."
For the wellness of all Milwaukee shoppers, let’s all try to keep it together this Black Friday, OK?
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.