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Customers come out for 'Black Friday' retail romp at malls

Posted November 23, 2007
Updated November 18, 2008

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— Black Friday dawned with brisk weather, and shoppers kept up a brisk pace during the day as retailers counted dollars on the day their businesses traditionally move into the black for the year.

The morning chill certainly didn't hinder early-risers who wanted to snag opening-hour bargains.

Sonia Santamaria was under blankets but wide awake in the dark as she waited with about 20 others in line outside a Wal-Mart.

“I expected a lot more but I'm grateful for the company. Everyone's been nice. No one's edgy, so that's a good thing,” she said.

Later in the day, throngs carrying shopping bags trooped through Triangle Towne Center in Raleigh, and the mall said it expected between 50,000 and 75,000 pairs of feet to walk through the doors before stores closed at 10 p.m.

"This is the big day that everyone's been gearing up for," said mall Marketing Director Jennifer Jones.

Some of those at the mall had tasks other than buying.

"I carry the bags. That's what I'm here for. I'm the bag-toter," Alex Burt said. His girlfriend, Becky Cunningham, didn't disagree with his job description.

"I just like getting in the hustle and bustle," said Sandy Page, who was shopping with her daughter, Chelsea. "It gets you in the spirit of the holidays."

Earlier Friday, company was easy to find outside a Best Buy store in Durham, where hundreds huddled in the cold in hopes of scoring bargains. The first person had staked out her spot at noon Thanksgiving Day.

Mary Spencer said she at least had turkey before she came out to execute her Black Friday strategy.

“We've got to get what we want. That's all there is to it – if you don't get in line, then you won't get what you want,” Spencer said.

Julius Davis said he learned that the hard way last year. This year, he hoped to snatch up a laptop bargain.

“I waited a year for this. I wanted to buy a laptop last year and I was not far up enough in line to get it,” he said as he waited.

Later, he said his diligence had paid off.

“I got exactly what I wanted this year. This is gonna be great. Happy Christmas!” Davis said.

People also waited at the Smithfield Outlets, where doors opened at midnight. They arrived five hours early and sat outside – in the dark – just to be the first.

Outlet store signs promised 50 percent, even 75 percent off, for the first few hours the stores were open.

The lines were also because many stores had limited quantities of their door-buster deals. The bargains were almost certain to disappear quickly.

Some stores also offered discount coupons for the morning hours so people who were not waiting in the dark when the doors opened could still reap some savings.

The day is known as Black Friday because it is the day retailers hope the rush of holiday shopping will move them from losing money to making money for the year – moving into the black. Some estimates say that Black Friday can account for 40 percent of holiday sales.

Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

30 Comments

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  • denverbob26 Nov 23, 2007

    sumamen, learn your history, especially pagan history. No, Christmas was not just a random day picked to celebrate the birth of christ. It has been the day of celebration for the Winter Solstice for about 4500 years now. It was adopted by the Roman Catholic church centuries ago in order to attract people to the church.

  • Tarheel Army Mom Nov 23, 2007

    Headline says Retail Romp....I say Retail Stomp and from what my husband told me (he went to Wally world at 4 am)...there were some old fashioned butwhoopings going on...cops in the store threatening to taser people, people pushing and shoving. I would rather be made to vote for Hilary Clinton than to go out shopping that early in that chaos. ***And trust me when I say, that the chances of either of those things happening are slim to 0! hehe

  • dmn Nov 23, 2007

    First let me say that I hate shopping in the stores anytime. This was the first year that I went out on Black Friday before dawn however I had to work today near Crossroads so leaving an hour early was no big deal. I only went to D!cks (edit required by wral !@#$%^&???????) Sporting Goods and Home Depot. There were less folks than I expected and I found a front row parking spot at both stores but forget about getting into Target, It was packed! I found other people to be very patient and friendly. I will say that I checked out ALL the ads on Thursday and only a couple of the price points beat the online retailers regular prices. Why anyone would stand in a line out in the cold is beyond me. While I may have spent an hour prior to work picking up a few needed items, I will certainly do most if not all of my Christmas shopping online. Just my $.02 but worth at least a nickel.

  • validpoint Nov 23, 2007

    "Christmas is just a random day picked out on a calendar that in no way really reflects the birthdate of Jesus (Gee-zuz, not Hay-soos)."

    That was a good arguement until you decided to be just a little racist. Jesus, in Spanish, is pronouned "Hay-sus"..and?

  • PaulRevere Nov 23, 2007

    Everyone knows the week AFTER Christmas is the time to find a bargain. Christmas is just a random day picked out on a calendar that in no way really reflects the birthdate of Jesus (Gee-zuz, not Hay-soos). Make the most of EVERY day in your life. Tell those you love that you love them every day, and express that love in more forms than a gift made in China. :-)

  • SingleLensReflex.SLR Nov 23, 2007

    yeah, thats the modern spirit, you "go" angelienna. fun is the thing.

  • angelienna Nov 23, 2007

    We stood in line at Target this morning starting around 5:30am and told all the people around us that we were just waiting for Starbucks to open. My point it, I am blessed and can afford to pay full price for what I am buying, but we went for the pure fun of it. To say we had been and to enjoy the frenzy. We made new friends, stood around and talked and enjoyed one another's company. As long as you don't take it so seriously, it can be fun and a great way to kick off the holiday season. No harm, no foul.

  • hi_i_am_wade Nov 23, 2007

    Christmas: Because money equals love.

    It has gotten crazy this time of year. I know people who were camping out since 12 noon Thanksgiving day. Wow.

  • VikingTom Nov 23, 2007

    NEVER NEVER NEVER. FOR SOMETHING THEY WILL BE SELLING AFTER CHRISTMAS AT THE SAME PRICE IF THEY CAN'T GET RID OF IT> THIS DAY BRINGS OUT THE WORST IN PEOPLE.

  • Irock Nov 23, 2007

    I might have been lucky or what but i have gone into Walmart in Fuquay Varina on 3 different occassions in the last 4 months around 10am and found 3 Wiis each time sitting there waiting for someone to buy them with no one waiting. They would only let me buy one at a time. So i kept going back and i have made some good money at this with friends.

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