Black Friday shoppers get an early start
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Friday, November 23, 2012
11/23/12 at 10:56 AM
Earlier shopping hours on Thanksgiving night just made for less waiting for shoppers like Keisha Bray - and she was taking full advantage of the extra time for holiday purchases.
With her husband a few miles away at Best Buy camped out for blockbuster deals on electronics, Bray was one of the first in line at Toys R Us at 71st Street and Memorial Drive in Tulsa.
"This is the third time I've done this and I've got a plan this time," said Bray, a mother of four children between 9 months old and 11 years old. "I'm planning to get everything done tonight."
The annual post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza officially spilled into Thursday night this year as dozens of stores opened doors at midnight or earlier. Judging by lines outside and at cash registers, shoppers didn't seem to mind the intrusion on a holiday.
Hundreds of shoppers lined up outside Toys R Us for the 8 p.m. opening, and equally long lines and full parking lots dotted shopping centers across the Tulsa metropolitan area as retailers such as Kmart, Walmart and Sears among others jumped ahead with 8 p.m. shopping times this year.
Bray was planning to pick up a big bargain on a Sony PlayStation 3 video game system, which was about $100 off the regular price and came with an extra controller. She also loaded up her cart with diapers and with toys, taking advantage of deep-discount deals that wouldn't be available to those further back in line.
By just before 9 p.m., Tulsan Megan Battershell had already been to Walmart to buy a tablet computer aimed at young children and was then in line at Sears with tools for her husband.
"I think I'm done after this," she said, waiting in line at the Sears store on Yale Avenue.
Many made a quick night of shopping after Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to some careful planning. Earlier hours at national chain stores were controversial to some who hold the holiday sacrosanct, especially thousands of area employees who were forced to work the holiday.
But judging by packed stores and lines, shoppers embraced the earlier times and showed their support with spending.
Post-Thanksgiving shopping veterans Ashley and Dallas Griffin used the early hours to load up on toys and games at Toys R Us for their son and daughter. They also picked up items for nieces and nephews in an attempt to get as much shopping done as possible.
"After this we plant go to Walmart and scan the aisles," Ashley Griffin of Tulsa said. "We know we missed the big sales, but we like to go through the aisles and find the things that people set to the side."
Shoppers in line at Toys R Us at 71st Street and Memorial Drive reported yelling and shouting at the Sears store across the street earlier in the evening as store employees were handing out tickets for hotly sought after merchandise.
Among the biggest sales of the night was a 32-inch flat panel television offered by Sears for just $97, although shoppers were aware that each store had only a handful to sell.
Teenage cousins Jonathan Aguilera, Rodrigo Perez and Brandon Rodriguez waited about 54 hours in line outside of Best Buy for a 40-inch Toshiba LCD television for $180.
They said they passed the time by playing games and simply chatting with each other. Aguilera's parents traded places with the boys in hopes that each family could pick up one of the hot sales items.
"This is the first time we've ever done anything like this, but it's been fun," Aguilera.
Unseasonably pleasant temperatures in the 70s on Thursday helped boost moods for shoppers, many of whom have endured sub-freezing temperatures in recent years.
Tulsan Rosie Mazzo was also seeking a 40-inch TV, but after arriving around noon on Wednesday, she said this is the first and last time she'll ever do anything like this.
Her granddaughter, Danielle Ward, brought her a plate of Thanksgiving dinner, but it was cold when it arrived.
"I'm getting this TV for me and then I'm getting out of here," she said.
Early Friday openings
Academy Sports & Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Drysdales, Gordmans, Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe's, Office Depot, Staples
Bed Bath & Beyond, Big Lots, Burlington Coat Factory, CareFirst Pharmacy, JCPenney, Jo-Ann's, Northern Tool & Equipment, Radio Shack
Dollar General, Guitar Center, Harbor Freight Tools, Mardel, PetSmart, Sam's Club, Stein Mart, Hahn Appliance Warehouse
Dillard's, Family Dollar, Furniture Row
Original Print Headline: And they're off
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
Customer Amanda King from Catoosa loads up on bargains while shopping during the Toys R Us Black Friday sales event in Tulsa on Thursday. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
Customers Miles O'Neill and his girlfriend, Kacie Holder, from Sapulpa load up their shopping cart with toys while bargain shopping during the Toys R Us Black Friday sales event in Tulsa on Thursday. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World