Black Friday shoppers line up early, stay out late in search of bargains

November 23, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Amber Rager, left, and Jaden Barnes already have their hands full of their Black Friday shopping finds by 12:30 a.m. Friday at Valley Mall.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

The possibility of snagging a free Nintendo Wii U game contributed to the Black Friday rush around Hagerstown that kicked off the holiday shopping season.

Long lines formed in the Old Navy in Valley Mall immediately after it opened at midnight as customers who spent $40 on merchandise there had a chance to receive a free New Super Mario Bros. U game for the new Nintendo Wii U game system.

Brooke Pogue, 25, of Chambersburg, Pa., took advantage of the deal.

“I love the thrill in getting the deals and fighting the crowd on Black Friday,” she said. “I was already at Walmart, and I got a TV and a whole bunch of pajamas and stuff, and I wanted the game from here. We got here at 11 p.m., and I’ll probably be out all night and all morning.”

The store also drew in customers for other deals.

“They have $5 fleeces at Old Navy,” said Hagerstown resident Brandon Kefauver, 25, who said he waited outside Valley Mall from 8 p.m. Thursday until it opened at midnight. “The Black Friday crowd is awesome. Everybody is so pumped and ready to spend money.”

About noon Friday, the Old Navy store was still crowded with a checkout line snaking around the store. More customers were streaming in by the minute.

Bryan Wright, of Martinsburg, W.Va., emerged from the store with his family, looking triumphant.

He said he had snagged fleece outerwear, pairs of jeans and boots.

“We also bought a waffle-maker from Macy’s. It is about $10 after the mail-in rebates,” he said.

The Wright family, like many others, were headed to the food court, the most crowded location at the mall.

Patsy Starliper, a resident of Hedgesville, W.Va., said she loved the crowds, one reason she ventures out to shop the day after Thanksgiving every year.

“It is less crowded than previous years. Maybe, the early openings ... they are having an effect,” Starliper said.

Many shoppers such as Donna Tritle of Waynesboro, Pa., started the day early.

“We started at 5 a.m.,” she said.

Tritle, who bought a 50-inch Samsung TV from the Target store at the mall, said she had made several stops including a Lowe’s outlet but had also gone home about 8 a.m. to take a nap.

“We have a list. It is really important to have a list,” she said.

“I think we are about done,” she said about noon.

The parking lot outside the Target store was still crowded, but many shoppers said that the early rush had dissipated and they did not have to deal with long lines.

But some stores had run out of the best deals, said Deb Forrester of Waynesboro, Pa., who came to the Target looking for a Gateway laptop selling for $349.

“I am now headed to the Chambersburg (Target) store,” she said.

At the Walmart store on Garland Groh Boulevard, the metal barricades put in place on Thursday night for crowd control had been removed by late morning Friday.

Jeanne Brittingham, of Hagerstown, said she did not quite agree with the stores being open on Thanksgiving Day.

“I’m happy to wait till today. The employees deserve a day off,” she said.

But not everyone felt that way.

Black Friday shoppers looking for deals filled stores that opened at midnight Thursday, along with those that opened earlier than that.

Traffic was going in and out of the parking lot at Valley Mall at midnight and at 1 a.m. Friday morning, with almost all of the parking spaces near the mall filled.

Every part of the mall appeared to be crowded at one point. In addition to Old Navy, long lines formed in Victoria’s Secret in the mall. Those stores appeared to be two of the busiest in the mall early Friday.

Hagerstown resident Briar Dalton, 18, said she arrived at the mall just as it opened. This was the first time she took part in the early morning Black Friday rush.

“I wanted to see all the excitement and everyone come out,” she said. “I don’t really have a particular thing I’m looking for.”

Shoppers also flocked to Kohl’s across from Valley Mall.

At Kohl’s, which opened at midnight, customers circled around the inside of the store waiting in line to purchase their products.

The store had power hours and early bird specials that included up to 60 percent off some items. Fairfield, Pa., resident Yvonne Stahley, 69, said she was looking for electrical appliances at the store.

“I shouldn’t be out this time of night,” she joked. “I just like to be out and see what’s available. I want a toaster.”

Stahley said she and her family began their shopping at 7 p.m. Thursday at Walmart in Chambersburg before driving into Hagerstown.

In addition to lines inside stores, lines also formed outside stores before they opened.

Matt Dawson, general manager of the Best Buy on Garland Groh Boulevard, said that between 400 and 500 people were lined up outside waiting for the store to open at midnight.

“We started letting people in around 11:30 p.m. to get them out of the cold,” he said.

Best Buy, according to Dawson, was selling a 40-inch  television for $187 as part of its Black Friday special. Dawson said that even though the store would be busy all day, the rush of people does bring a “level of excitement.”

“It’s kicking off the holidays,” he said. “People know Christmas is almost here.”

Lambert Bautista, of Waynesboro, Pa., was shopping at Best Buy around 2 a.m. Friday, looking for electronic deals. He said Black Friday shopping is a tradition for his family.

“I’m mainly looking for entertainment and laptops,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for six years.”

Some stores around the city opened on Thursday, but that does not mean the Black Friday rush slowed down for them after midnight.

Target, which opened at 9 p.m. Thursday, was busy at 1 a.m. Friday, with customers going in and out.

“Our guests lined up and were ready for us when we opened,” store team leader Matt Scharek said. “We’ve been busy pretty much most of the evening.”

Laura DeMichele, 53, who was shopping in Target, said this year marked the first time she was able to shop on Black Friday, because in the past she has had to work. She also still had to go to work at 2 p.m. Friday, though.

“I enjoy being out and about and seeing if I can catch a deal,” she said. “I’m amazed at all the people out.”

Not everybody was having luck catching Black Friday deals however.

Blue Ridge Summit resident Dave Dolbow, 46, was shopping at H.H. Gregg with his son at about 2:30 a.m., but hadn’t yet make a purchase.

“I’ve spent more time looking at stuff and trying to get information for what I want to buy in the future,” he said. “I’m looking for TV’s and tablets. We’ve got to go home with one thing.”

H.H. Gregg opened at 10 p.m. Thursday.

Shoppers also crowded the stores at Premium Outlets Friday morning, but parking spaces in the shopping center were still available at 3 a.m.

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