I told myself never again. It's been years since I last braved it. I mean a lot of years. I'm talking about venturing into the shopping crowds of Black Friday. I'm all about shopping locally, but one hears horror stories about throngs of people swarming over the same items. Then there's the parking. It's next to impossible to get a good slot on the busiest shopping day of the year, am I right?

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What possessed me to break my normal habit of staying as far away from the mall as possible? My daughter was in town and excited about catching some good deals. Well, if you're a dad with a baby girl, I don't have to tell you. You'll do anything.

I must admit, this was my first year in a long while to do Black Friday at the Mall of Abilene. I predicted a few things - and was surprised by a few. Keep scrolling to see if you agree with what I discovered.

LOOK: 5 THINGS I LEARNED FROM GOING TO THE MALL OF ABILENE ON BLACK FRIDAY

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Weather Does Not Deter Abilene Shoppers

It was a cold, damp, cloudy day, but that didn't stop shoppers from getting their hands on a good deal.


 

Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps
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Parking Wasn't Bad...If You're Patient

There's no doubt the parking lot was as full as I've ever seen but if you're patient, it pays off. We were able to grab a slot right up front within only five minutes of circling around.


 

Photo: IR_Stone/Getty Images
Photo: IR_Stone/Getty Images
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Honestly...I Expected More People

We arrived in the middle of the day. I just knew we were in for some massive crowds. The mall was packed, but I was pleasantly surprised. I anticipated a lot more people. Is this because online shopping is gaining popularity?


 

Wal-Mart Quarterly Profits Spike Up 17 Percent
Photo: Getty Images
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Check Out Lines Couldn't Keep Up

This may be an obvious one for a Black Friday. There weren't the amounts of people I expected, yet the lines to check out were crazy. It's as if there wasn't enough staff on hand.


 

Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps
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People Were Nice

I have always heard stories of competitive shoppers doing anything and everything to get the last item or be ahead of everyone else in line. Surprisingly, for me, it was nothing like that.

I'm not saying that I'd want to be in the thick of Black Friday every year. In fact, that would be a hard pass. But getting out this year certainly didn't put a damper on my holiday weekend like I was dreading it would. It was a blessed Thanksgiving and a relatively painless Black Friday. I'll take it. Next stop...Christmas.

If you're crazy about Christmas and near a Buc-ee's, you'd be surprised how many cool gifts you can find. Scroll below if you're looking for gift ideas from this Texas roadside mega attraction.

Great Christmas Gifts Found at Buc-ee's

If you have a Buc-ee's fanatic in your life you have plenty of options for Christmas gifts.

Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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