MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two hours before Black Friday officially began, many shoppers were already waiting in lines, hoping to be the first one through the door.
At the Best Buy in Eden Prairie, Kendra Martin and her friends lined up at 9 o’clock Wednesday night for a Black Friday deal too good to pass up. She was waiting for a 42-inch TV on sale for $200.
“I don’t know. It’s a little crazy to me, the concept, but I’m saving money. It’s worth it,” said Martin.
She’s not alone. Dozens of other customers had formed a line around the store hours before midnight.
“We brought chairs, tables, deck of cards. Going to hang out, talk to everybody and have a good time,” said Gary Gould, who was waiting in line.
The hype for Black Friday is nothing new, but retailers are finding ways to incorporate convenience and comfort.
Fortunately, this year, the weather is decent and, for the first time, Best Buy is featuring the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for waiting customers.
Other retailers opened stores on the actual Thanksgiving holiday.
“They were open. We wanted to avoid all the rush tomorrow,” said Connie Brezina, as she shopped at Gander Mountain.
Gander Mountain is one of a growing number of retailers who allow customers to get a jump start on the Black Friday shopping. At times, consumers will find even better deals.
“You got to get in and get it, because you won’t see it Friday,” said Brandon Selzer, a manager at Gander Mountain.
Yet, for some customers, the biggest incentive has nothing to do with saving. In some cases, smaller crowds can beat out a good bargain.
“I don’t go out on Friday, to be honest with you. I did it one time and that was enough for me,” said Bob Salfer, a Gander Mountain customer.
With the pressure for stores to open earlier, it does affect the workers who have to show up early. Thousands signed a petition, earlier this week, from a Target employee upset about the midnight start time.
Many stores say they opened early because of customer demand. Many retailers also pay time and a half or schedule on a volunteer basis.