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Lights on early for Black Friday

Jennifer Mutz, Windom, unloads her packages into the backseat of her minivan after doing some Christmas shopping Friday at ShopKo in Worthington.1 / 2
A decorated Christmas tree welcomes shoppers to the Northland Mall in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- Some employing strategies more complicated than the invasion of Normandy, shoppers spent days pouring over flyers and ads, plotted a course for target items and prepared for the battle known as Black Friday.

The opening time of the retail stores Friday were as varied as the shoppers -- some as late as 8 or 9 a.m., some as early as 3 or 4 a.m. Some stores began their Black Friday sales on Thursday, prompting shoppers to ditch a feast of turkey and all the trimmings in favor of a banquet of bargains.

By late Friday morning, more than one bench at Northland Mall was occupied by shoppers who had been on the go since the early morning hours. When questioned, each had the same response regarding the kind of doorbuster deals they had been eyeballing in the days leading up to Black Friday.


Laptops, GPS units, TVs and gaming systems were what retailers used as lures to get customers in their stores.

They then kept them around with coupons and specials on toys, bedding, cookware and holiday trimmings.

For some, the bargains are a bonus, but the thrill of the hunt is what gets them up before the sun.

"This year we didn't go after anything," said Nancy Reitmeier of Brandon, S.D. "Last year there was stuff we went after."

It was only Reitmeier's second year of Black Friday mayhem, but her shopping partner, Cindy Russell of Bigelow, has been taking part in the post-Thanksgiving ritual for several years.

"We were at one store at 5 a.m.," Russell said. "It was horrible."

Chaos and crabby employees made the experience less than fun, they said.

At another store, the ladies added, friendly employees were directing traffic toward the checkout lines, keeping things organized and casual.

"Much better," Russell reported.

By 11 a.m., they had been to three retail stores, the mall and had stopped for breakfast.

"Breakfast is important," the agreed with a laugh.

For mother and daughter shoppers Lora Kuiper and April Henrichs, both of Little Rock, Iowa, lunch was a reward for a good morning of shopping.

"We didn't get up at 4 a.m. or anything like that," Henrichs said.

The duo hit the stores around 9 a.m. and still managed to find most of the items they were hunting for.

"We did real well," Kuiper stated. "We found everything except one item that was sold out."

While they were targeting electronics, their other items of interest included DVDs, clothing and jewelry.

"We're going to go have lunch, and then we're going home," Henrichs said.

Not everyone is keen on the idea of getting up early and hitting the stores. A Daily Globe online poll showed that 90 percent of the respondents preferred to skip the insanity of Black Friday.

Next on the holiday shopping agenda is Cyber Monday, considered the busiest online shopping day of the year.

Instead of braving the cold, the crowds and the craziness, many bargain hunters will stalk their prey from the comfort of their own homes or offices. In fact, Cyber Monday got its name because deal-seekers would head to work on the Monday after Black Friday and use the higher speed Internet connections in their offices to search for the best prices.