In the past, Black Friday shoppers have been pushy, rude and even violent. In 2008, a Walmart employee died when shoppers trampled him as they fled into the store when the doors opened at 12 a.m. This year, a woman in California attacked 12 people with pepper spray to keep them from getting the Xbox console she wanted to purchase.

After hearing about crazy Walmart stories, I decided I had to experience the madness for myself.

I wanted to get some Christmas shopping done early and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out the deals.

I have been to Walmart on Black Friday once before  in Bonney Lake, but it wasn’t exceptionally exciting and there was no line to get into the store.

I decided to go to the Renton Walmart because it was the most central store for the group of people I was shopping with who were coming from Enumclaw, Auburn and Bothell.

I hadn’t expected there to be a line like this, but when I saw it I knew we would be out in the cold for a while.  By the time I got inside I could barely feel my feet. People lined up all the way around the Walmart building on Thursday night before the electronics went on sale at midnight. It took my sister, a friend and me more than an hour and a half to get inside after arriving at 10:30 p.m. and getting in line around 10:45 p.m.

But the lines were just half the battle.

We got into the store 20 minutes after midnight. I couldn’t walk in an efficient manner; I had to weave in-between people and walk all the way around aisles to get to the side I was already on.

Despite this, I easily accessed the DVDs and it wasn’t difficult to get to the toys (my sister needed to get Legos for a friend). Not many people crowded around these items.

I was lucky that I wasn’t after any of the hot-ticket items. It wasn’t specific items that slowed us down; it was the sheer number of people that made it difficult to walk around and made the lines move slowly.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to purchase because I was mostly there for the experience and just to see what the deals were.

I walked somewhat aimlessly other than walking to my destinations of the movie and toy sections of the store.

The real challenge was getting to the end of the line.It was so backed up that walking through or around the line to reach the end of it was more than tricky – it was so wide it took up the whole aisle.

I started out with five DVDs and one picture frame. We also managed to find the time to purchase McDonalds and eat it while the line slowly crept toward the checkout.

The checkout line was moving so slowly that I was able to do most of my shopping while in it. I grabbed a set of flannel sheets, a gift basket of Starbucks products and Old Spice men’s hygiene products after getting in line. We had a big enough group of people so that not all of us had to stand in line at once.

The line was barely moving, so we stacked all of our purchases into a plastic laundry basket, which was overflowing by the time we got to the checkout so we could set it on the floor and scoot it along as the line moved.

  But I finally made it out with a set of sheets, five movies, a box of Old Spice hygiene products, a picture frame, and a gift-box of Starbucks tea, coffee and a mug Two in our group decided to continue on to Target, but I decided to call it a night – I didn’t think I could do it for another several hours.

I was glad to take advantage of some of the deals, but I’m not sure if I will visit a Walmart in a city on Black Friday again. The lines would probably be worth it if I was going for a really expensive item, but for casual shopping, I think I’ll stick with Amazon.