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On a bargain binge

Economy doesn’t stop shoppers from flooding malls to look for can’t-miss deals.

November 28, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

Shopper Viridiana Lugo slouched into a wood bench as she drifted to sleep early Friday while hundreds of people with shopping bags scurried around her at the Glendale Galleria.

Lugo slipped off a boot for a much-needed break and surveyed about a dozen shopping bags that her group had accumulated — and it was only 5 a.m.

“We didn’t get much sleep because we have been up 24 hours straight,” she said. “I am tired.”

Lugo and her family were just a few of the people who arrived at the sprawling mall during the pre-dawn hours for Black Friday deals.

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By 5 a.m., she and her family had racked up $3,000 in receipts on clothes and toys.

Shoppers started lining up as early as 10:30 p.m. Thursday at the Glendale Galleria to take advantage of the door-buster deals that many stores were offering, Glendale Galleria spokeswoman Janet LaFevre said.

More than 600 people lined up outside Target for its 5 a.m. opening, the line extending from Galleria Way to Central Avenue.

“That’s probably the longest line I’ve seen,” LaFevre said.

Soon after, Target employees began pulling merchandise from their back stock to keep up with demand.

More stores, including Marc Ecko, the Gap store, Anchor Blue and Verizon, opted to also open at midnight this year, hoping to bank off the long retail day, LaFevre said.

And despite the protracted recession, foot traffic at the mall appeared to be stronger than in past Black Fridays, she said.

Shoppers were also heading to stores with strong retail brands, such as Lego and Disney, because they knew the merchandise will last longer, LaFevre said.

“People are looking for quality versus quantity this year,” she said.

As a first-time Black Friday shopper, Victor Lodevico was quickly learning that navigating through stores on the busiest shopping day of the year was not for the faint of heart.

With a sea of shopping carts, purchasing a $5 toaster at Target was no easy task, he said.

“It’s not a spectators sport,” Lodevico said.

The Black Friday gambit was an annual tradition for Concord resident Patty Kimball, who combed through ads with her nieces on Thanksgiving to map out the best deals.

She gave her nieces envelopes with $300, drove them to the mall at 3:15 a.m. and let them loose.

“The rule is that they have to spend their money by noon,” she said.

In Burbank, shoppers started lining up outside the Best Buy on Wednesday night, hoping to snatch up $200 laptops and reduced-price flat-screen TVs.

“People began lining up earlier this year than last year,” store manager Will Coppock said.

By 6:30 a.m. Friday, people were still standing in line.

Pacoima resident Waldemar Quijano said he was in desperate need of a laptop for school.

So for the first time ever, he braved the early-morning Black Friday crowds.

“I’ve never done something as crazy as this before,” he said.


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