Shoppers out earlier than ever for Black Friday deals
It was nearly 4 a.m., the wind chill was a frigid 5 degrees and Jim Willson was ready to go.
Willson of St. John got to Best Buy at 11:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night to get his spot toward the front of the line.
“It’s worth it,” Willson said, adding that he was going to save about $500 on laptops going for $189 that normally sell for $449 each.
Willson said he has one recommendation for people considering waiting in line in the cold for the bargains: “Carhartt.”
In year’s past, most major retailers opened their doors at 5 a.m. This year, some were open for the first time on Thanksgiving day while others opened their doors at midnight or 3 a.m.
The early morning lines outside the buildings of some of the big box stores were shorter than in recent years, something noted by veteran Black Friday shoppers. The crowds inside the stores and at the mall as shops opened were smaller, too.
Roshonda Payne of Hobart was working for Virgin Mobile outside the Best Buy store donning a Santa hat. Payne has worked in various capacities in retail for the last 17 years and thinks this holiday shopping season is an exciting one.
“In the past, people would just walk by and look but people seem to have more confidence in the economy this year,” Payne said.
“This is a great area to shop in and people really seem ready to spend a little more money to help build the economy up.”
Jenelle Goodloe of Merrillville got to Target at 3 a.m. for the 4 a.m. opening. In years past, the line wrapped all the way around the building but this year, stopped halfway around the side. Goodloe said she planned to buy a host of video game systems and DVDs for herself and her children.
“I’m actually spending a little less this year,” the insurance agent said.
Before dawn, Westfield Southlake Shopping Mall was mostly filled with teens visiting with friends, but not doing much shopping.
Crown Point High School juniors Brooke Reising, 17 and Sarah Maddack, 16, were cuddled up in a chair at the mall at 4:30 a.m. fighting sleep. The best friends left home at midnight for Walmart and Kohl’s, but hadn’t purchased anything.
“It was crazy, but it’s fun,” Reising said. “I just got my car, so I felt really independent driving around.”
Jackie Lejeck of Highland had a pile of bags at her feet while waiting for other stores to open at the mall. Lejeck left home at 11:30 p.m. with plans to buy gifts for her 5-year-old son. By 4:30 a.m., she’d already filled her trunk with loot from Toys R Us, Carson Pirie Scott, American Eagle Outfitters and The Disney Store.
The respiratory therapist said she thought the deals were better this year than in years past, but the crowds were not what they used to be.
“I could walk right in, get what I wanted and walk out without any problems,” she said.
Lejeck said she’s spending a little more this year than in years past.
“The deals are better so I’m getting more for the money,” she said.
David Faverty of Hamlet gathered with his wife, mother, and sister for early morning deals at the mall after shopping at Walmart at midnight.
“We have two little girls so we have to get their stuff,” Faverty said.
Faverty works at a warehouse in Elkhart and said things are picking up at work.
“We’re doing better but we always keep an eye on the deals,” his wife, Cassie Faverty, said.