Walmart’s Biggest Black Friday Item: Towels

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Walmart shoppers made some surprising decisions during this year’s Black Friday event, buying up towels in droves, according to NBC News. The store chain announced that it sold 2.8 million towels during the shopping day, which started at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Towels outpaced popular items like televisions and tablets, of which 2 million and 1.4 million were sold, respectively.

High towel sales weren’t unexpected. “We’ve seen at-home items like towels and sheets and even Rubbermaid Tupperware become popular on Black Friday at our stores,” spokeswoman Deisha Barnett said to NBC News. “A lot of people are either hosting guests for the weekend or preparing for guests for the holiday season.”

Still, the surge was larger than expected. A full 1 million more towels were sold during this year’s Black Friday event compared to last year’s.

The prices were predictably low. Individual bath towels were $1.74, as were packs of six washcloths. That’s the equivalent of $0.29 per washcloth. But the difference compared to everyday prices wasn’t as great as it may seem. The Walmart website currently offers bath towels starting at $3.88 and hand towels starting at $0.47.

Clamoring For The Deal

Many Walmart stores were open for regular shopping all day Thursday, but Black Friday deals started in the stores at 6 p.m. nationwide. Police and Walmart employees worked together to stop customers from snagging Black Friday products before the official 6 p.m. start. This was a necessary measure even for the towel department.

Anthony Schullo managed to record the kickoff moment at a Walmart in Bloomingdale, Ill. While it may not have been as violent or as loud as the flat screen television area, the moment still seemed competitive.

Schullo said the aisle was adrenaline-filled as a crowd of people waited for a chance to grab at the towels. Customers chided those who got too close or tried to take merchandise before the official start time. Then when employees gave the signal, customers tore into the displays and walked away, hands full of towels.