Shoppers turn out for holiday specialsPublished 9:01am Friday, November 23, 2012
Hundreds of shoppers flocked to area stores Thursday night to take advantage of Black Friday sales that dipped into Thanksgiving Day.
With stores opening as early as 8 and 9 p.m. Thursday, some shoppers seemed pleased to get an early start on their holiday shopping, while others had opinions to the contrary.
“I liked it in the morning better,” said Jason Hoiseth of Albert Lea.
Hoiseth, who arrived at Walmart at about 7:30 p.m. with a shopping list in hand, had his eyes set on a 40-inch LCD Emerson television for $198, along with a TV wall mount, an LG Blu-ray player and a wood-burning fire pit, among other items.
He said the earlier sales took away from a family tradition of seeing a movie on Thanksgiving night, but he loves the deals and came out anyway.
At Walmart, the sales began at 8 p.m. on toys, game systems, clothes, kitchen appliances and household items, while sales on TVs, iPads, laptops and other electronics began at 10 p.m. Lines snaked up and down the aisles — even in the grocery department — for some of the electronics.
A third round of sales began at 5 a.m. today and included some hunting gear, jewelry, sewing machines, a tool cabinet and even Christmas decorations.
Albert Lean Amy Schmidt arrived at Walmart at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to take advantage of deals on gifts for her children and grandson.
She purchased a LeapPad for her grandson and hoped to get cellphones for her son and her daughter and a laptop for her other son.
She said it was her third year venturing out into after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.
Down the aisle was Stacie Whiteside of Wells who was shopping for her five children.
“I can’t pass up a deal,” Whiteside said. “My husband thinks I’m insane.”
She was shopping for bikes, scooters, trucks and other toys and was thrilled to be done with her shopping before the sales would have even begun in previous years.
She said she would be mostly done with her Christmas shopping by the end of the outing.
Across town at Shopko, doors opened at 9 p.m. with more than 600 doorbusters.
Retired telephone operator Donna Mae McCamish of Ellendale ventured out for her first after-Thanksgiving shopping trip.
McCamish said in her years as a telephone operator she never had the chance to shop with the earlybird shoppers.
“We’ve never done it before, and it’s not 3 in the morning,” she said.
She stood in line outside the store for more than 30 minutes with granddaughters Whittney and Sydney as winds howled around them before the doors opened at 9 p.m.
She didn’t have anything specific in mind that she wanted to buy but planned to go inside and and see what she found.
“I don’t have a problem with the stores opening earlier,” McCamish said. “It’s the people’s choice.”
Other stores opening early in Albert Lea included Sears at 8 p.m. Thursday, Herberger’s and Dunham’s Sports at midnight, Home Depot at 5 a.m. today, Sears at 7 a.m. and RadioShack at 8 a.m.
The day after Thanksgiving has long been known as the unofficial kickoff to holiday shopping. In recent years, however, Black Friday has become a frenzy of activity, with rock-bottom prices to entice shoppers into its doors even earlier.
For many retailers, it’s the day of the year where they go from the red, or posting a loss on the books, to the black, or turning a profit.