Customers camp out early for Black Friday deals
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Bargain hunters are setting up shop days ahead of Black Friday, and they've packed cash and camping gear.
The dash for deals has started early this year. Many set up tents at stores all in the name of a bargain.
The holiday turkeys are not even in the oven yet, but the bargain blitz is already in full swing. South Florida shoppers are getting in line for Black Friday, some even camping out. "I've been doing this for four years now," said Juan Vanegas. "For the past four years, I've been first. It's great deals, can't miss out."
A group of men hope to snag some savings, teaming up to claim the front of the line at a Best Buy in Pembroke Pines. "The stores always open for the first five or 10 people," said Daniel Toro. "You might have the whole store for yourself. You can pick anything you want without a bunch of other people."
They are not alone, campers outside a Best Buy in Fort Myers have their televisions and dinner tables set up. "We've pretty much gone from not sleeping in a tent to a tent and slowly progressed to where we've got everything that we remember we need," said Sean Kelley.
The promise of great deals attract massive crowds on the biggest shopping day of the year. Retailers are also opening up earlier. Many shoppers have chosen to skip the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at home and head straight for the bargains. "Thanksgiving, mom comes out with the china and the plates," said Kelley, "and we've got everything you have on a normal Thanksgiving table."
Malls nationwide have also joined the bargain bonanza. Sawgrass Mills Mall is opening its doors at 9 p.m. Thursday night. "They're offering such big discounts and values on Black Friday weekend," said Luanne Lenberg. "They wanted that extra hour to get customers out."
"Retailers are evolving with their customers," said Senior Director of the National Retail Federation, Kathy Grannis, "and that means that they are opening on Thanksgiving because there are millions of people who will be in line and that want those deals."
The large crowds are sometimes a cause for chaos across the nation. Last year, brawls and bullets erupted at some shopping centers. You might remember a cell phone video at a Walmart in L.A. where a woman pepper sprayed into a crowd, trying to keep other shoppers away from the X-Box she wanted. "I sure got the scent of the mace," said a witness. "As you can see in the video, some lady was saying, 'My eyes, my eyes.'"
Closer to home, in Hallandale Beach, a woman ripped a printer right out of another woman's hands at Walmart. "I don't think there's anything in Walmart worth that," said a customer.
Some bargain hunters probably beg to differ. "Every year I come blind," said someone waiting in line. "Not knowing exactly what it is and always come out with really good deals."
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