BANGOR, Maine — Canadian shoppers arrived early Thursday to get in line at Walmart and were surprised that the doors didn’t open until midnight.
Maine has a law that bars big box stores from opening on Thanksgiving.
“We thought it opened at 10 p.m.,” as advertised nationally, said Wanda Myers, a Saint John, New Brunswick, resident who arrived at the Brewer Walmart Supercenter at 6 a.m. Thursday and stood first in one of the store’s two lines.
“Everybody did,” said Kayla Forsythe, also of Saint John.
The two were in a convoy of Canadian shoppers who drove 3½ hours to get to the Bangor area for Black Friday deals.
“I was absolutely shocked” that no one was in the parking lot, said Myers, who came to Maine to buy electronics. “I thought it would be packed.”
Store maintenance worker Robert Modery, who was outside in the 32-degree weather helping to direct shoppers to the end of the long lines, said the Maine advertisement fliers had information about the local store hours.
“That’s a national ad. All they had to do was turn to the second page,” he said.
The Canadian shoppers in line in Brewer said they got their information — including store maps to the items they wanted — from the company’s website.
Etna resident Teresa Harvey, who has been first in line on Black Friday for two years in a row, was shocked when she arrived at the Brewer store at 5 a.m. Thursday and found Saint John residents Barb Lynch and Tracey Buick already standing in front of the store in its other line.
“We introduced ourselves and played Phase 10 for the first hour,” she said, referring to a card game.
Lynch, who was with Buick on their first Black Friday excursion, said the duo drove from Canada to buy “anything on sale.”
The day after Thanksgiving is typically the biggest shopping day of the year. It’s known as Black Friday because it’s the day many retailers enter the black for the year financially. Cyber Monday, the Monday following the Black Friday deals, is considered the biggest online shopping day of the year.
In Bangor, parking lots at all the Bangor Mall-area stores holding Black Friday sales were filled to overflowing.
East Millinocket resident Shawn Bouchard was first in line at Best Buy after arriving at 9 p.m. Wednesday to ensure he got “the 42-inch TV for a couple hundred bucks.”
His wife, Cindy, arrived at 8 a.m. Thursday and brought him a turkey sandwich and a hot beverage.
“We had our Thanksgiving last night,” Shawn Bouchard said just minutes before the store doors opened.
The son of a dedicated Black Friday shopper brought his disc jockey system to Best Buy late Friday night and filled the parking lot with music for his mom and others in the massive line that stretched to the entire length of the parking lot and looped back nearly halfway to the entrance.
“They’ve got music,” one young shopper could be heard saying as he got out of a vehicle.
“He was here for the holiday and decided to come down and entertain us,” Beverly Commeau of Old Town said of her music-playing son, Heath Commeau, who grew up in Old Town but now lives in Rockland.
She was third in line at the store and had been queued up since Wednesday night.
Her son arrived at 10 p.m. Thursday and got permission from the manager to entertain those standing in line. He parked his truck right at the entrance, and as shoppers filed past him going inside, many said thanks.
“It was a good time,” Heath Commeau said as he packed up his gear. “I’ll probably be asked to come back next year. Maybe it will become a tradition.”
An early version of this story incorrectly named a subject. Heath Commeau, who grew up in Old Town but now lives in Rockland, provided the music, not Shawn Commeau.