Modesto shoppers get early start at mall, big box stores

pguerra@modbee.comNovember 22, 2012 

— Clutching blankets, advertising fliers and hundreds of coffee beverages, area shoppers turned out in force for Black Friday sales.

Lines around the buildings awaited the opening of sales at Best Buy, Target and Walmart on Thursday night into Friday morning.

At Vintage Faire Mall, most of the entrances saw lines by 9 p.m. ahead of the planned midnight opening of most stores — several opened will in advance of that.

As they did last year, mall officials opened the main doors at 11 p.m., giving shoppers time to line up before their favorite shops opened.

Controlled chaos erupted when security staff opened the doors, with people running in and running off to line up in front of individual shops. Within seconds, someone lost a jacket in the free-for-all, but that seemed to be the sole casualty.

Lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret attracted the biggest crowd.

Teen favorite Abercrombie & Fitch also proved popular. Among those who came to shop there were three members of the Delgado family from Turlock, sisters Karissa and Vanessa and their cousin, Issac.

“We come every year,” said Karissa, 18. “It’s fun.”

The Delgados said they were shopping both for themselves and holiday gifts. They got to the mall at 7 p.m. to be among the first in line.

“Abercrombie has 50 percent off the whole store,” Issac said.

The mall’s restaurants also opened up shop and by midnight Friday the food court looked like it might on a Saturday afternoon: lines at Hot Dog on a Stick and Wetzel’s Pretzels, and children scampering around the mall’s new play area.

For years, Black Friday has been the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season. It’s named for the day each year when stores had covered expenses and started to make a profit. More recently, it’s become a scramble for the consumer dollar, which has been harder to come by in an economy that remains tight.

Retailers such as Target and Toys R Us moved their openings up even earlier this year, sparking protests from employees and groups who felt they were encroaching on the Thanksgiving holiday. But hundreds of shoppers lined up to get deals, many of them leaving the holiday table to do so.

“I cooked my dinner, was done by 1 and got here at 2,” said Krista Giordanella, in line at Toys R Us.

Though much of the activity focused on big-box retailers, there was some room for entrepreneurial endeavors: 10-year-old Jasmin Ramirez took advantage of captive audiences to sell candy bars in a fundraiser for Shackelford Elementary School.

Jasmin and her mom, Kyria Boyso, worked lines at Kmart and Toys R Us.

When asked whose idea it was, each pointed at the other.

“Do not even blame me,” Boyso said.

Whoever had the idea, it was a good one: Standing in the parking lot of Toys R Us, Boyso shook three empty boxes.

“We sold one box at Kmart and two boxes here.”

Bee photographer Elias Funez contributed to this report.

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.



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