Brave shoppers seek deals on Black Friday

Published 12:14 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ashley Daughtrey, right, loads Christmas trees and bags of items from Belk into her car on Black Friday. Daughtrey ventured out with her mother, Shelia Ward, and 2-year-old daughter Grace Parker later in the day to find deals.

After a tasty Thanksgiving dinner, Darnetta Austin didn’t have much time to relax and enjoy being at home — she had shopping to do.

Austin has been looking forward to and preparing for Black Friday since spring, when she started putting money away for her holiday shopping.

“I saved my income tax money and $50 from each paycheck, so I could come out and get the things I really wanted,” she said. “I come out every Black Friday. I love it — all the excitement and the thrill of the chase.”

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Austin was one of the millions of shoppers who ventured out Friday to find the best deals on electronics, toys, clothes and other items.

This year, the National Retail Federation estimated, 152 million people would shop between Friday and Sunday, which is up from the 138 million they anticipated last year.

Additionally, shoppers were expected to spend 17 percent more on holiday gifts this year, according to American Express.

Austin started her shopping adventure Thursday night at 10 p.m. at the Walmart on North Main Street.

“I started at Walmart to get a TV and items I needed for the kids,” she said.

Austin said the store was packed with customers trying to snag merchandise, so she tried to not to stay too long.

After her Walmart run, Austin hit up Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Big Lots and Belk.

Like Austin, Nick and Ashley Borelli made their way to the College Drive Walmart at midnight Friday, but didn’t stay very long.

“It was insane,” Nick Borelli said. “If you waited to get to the savings, you would just have to wait in line again to pay for it.”

The couple decided the deals weren’t worth the trouble of the crowds.

“We found a better deal at GameStop,” Nick Borelli said. “And we didn’t have to wait in line.”

Faye Browne said she also was happy with the deals the local stores offered for Friday.

She started her shopping at 6 a.m. at Walmart, but she decided to go other places when the crowds got too rowdy.

On Friday, Browne said, she found the best deals at Big Lots on North Main Street.

“I got touch-screen MP3 players for $14.88 at Big Lots,” she said. “And Xbox games were buy two, get two free.”

By 10 a.m., Browne said, she had used her debit card for about $500 in purchases.

Austin said her best deal was at Best Buy, where she got a 42-inch high definition TV for $199.

She said she estimated she spent about $1,500 and paid cash, but many of the items she knew she wanted, she put on layaway weeks ago to ensure she would get one if it went on sale for the holiday.

“Either way, I know I’m going to get it,” she said.

Many of the stores opened at midnight or early morning this year, so by the mid-morning, the crowds had died down.

But Austin was still going and didn’t plan to stop any time soon.

“I’ll probably be out until at least 1,” she said.