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Black Friday arrives in Yuma
Shoppers hunt for deals in frenzy
Jose Rios and his girlfriend, Mirna Soto, camped out nearly 31 hours outside of Best Buy, eagerly awaiting Black Friday deals.
The couple showed up at the store in the Yuma Palms mall at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and picked a spot close to the door. They were third in line. Eventually more buyers -- hundreds and hundreds more -- showed up andwound their way all around the building.
Rios and Soto threw an old carpet on the hard concrete sidewalk and waited. They dozed off and on during the cold night.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, “my mom brought out some turkey and stuff,” Rios, a student at Arizona Western College, said.
They considered the wait worth it, hoping to be rewarded with two television sets, a 40-inch set originally priced at $420, on sale for $180. They were also in the market for video games and a Breaking Bad DVD.
The same scene repeated all across Yuma Thursday evening. Instead of waiting for early Friday, many stores started their traditional Black Friday sales on Thursday.
Many Yumans ate their dinner, hopped into their cars and looked for once-a-year specials. Some felt guilty about shopping on Thanksgiving but found the deals too good to pass up. Others were in it for the entertainment.
“I came for the excitement, to see if anyone was fighting,” admitted Leny Escobar as she left Target with her mom, Martha Escobar, shortly before 10 p.m.
“It's fun. Everyone is running around, going crazy,” Leny Escobar said.
Her mom found a fireplace, originally priced at $49, on sale for $29.
How did they feel about the sales starting on Thursday instead of the traditional Black Friday?
“It's nice, but at the same time I feel bad for the workers. I'd rather wait for Friday,” Martha Escobar said.
Her daughter disagreed. “I don't feel bad. Police officers, border patrolmen, they all have to work, too,” Leny Escobar said.
Next, they were headed to Old Navy to wait in line for the midnight opening. Leny Escobar wanted to buy jeans and sweaters.
Gabriela Barraza and Alejandra Pacheco, both of San Luis, Mexico, decided to brave the international border crossing. They only waited for 45 minutes, they noted.
They made their way to Target where they grabbed two 32-inch televisions for $137 and two Xbox Kinect units. In the meantime, their husbands waited in line at Best Buy, hoping to get great deal on a laptop.
How would they pass the time in line? By texting on their cellphones, Barraza quipped.
Karen Nichols and Marcy Osborne, both of Yuma, went to the Walmart at the Foothills looking for a sewing machine on sale. Nichols was disappointed to find 40 people waiting for six machines. So they headed to the Walmart on Pacific Avenue and found a hundred sewing machines in stock, originally priced at $80 each, on sale for $49.
Afterwards they hit Target, where they bought towels on sale for $2 apiece, pillows and a docking station at half off.
Nichols admitted that she was shopping for herself. She will buy gift cards for family members, who are scattered across the nation, she said.
Osborne didn't mind that sales started a day earlier. “Everybody needs money. I think it's great,” she said.
Nichols was impressed by the “civility” of shoppers. “Nobody was getting out of control. Mostly people were respectful.”
Waiting first in line for the midnight opening at Kohl's was Lanie Mahoney and 15-year-old family friend Rebecca Arnold. At about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, they sat on folding chairs, wrapped in blankets, eating pumpkin pie and sipping Starbucks beverages. They had arrived at the store at 5 p.m. and were shocked to be the first in line.
“Lanie was freaking out. She ran all excited to the door. I said, ‘Why are you running? There's no one there.' I was surprised,” Arnold said.
Mahoney wanted an electric blanket, the same one she saw at another store for $129. It would be on sale at Kohl's for $29. With her $10 coupon, she would walk away with it for $19.
Arnold wanted a camera, regularly priced at $300, on sale for $129. She also wanted boots, regularly priced at $59, on sale for $9.
After working the day at Fry's, Mahoney liked the idea of sales kicking off on Thursday. “I was excited to eat and come do this,” she said.
Ruby Silva made a pit stop at Starbucks while she waited for JCPenney to open the next morning. She had just come from Walmart on Pacific Avenue, where she said she saw a man arrested by police for fighting over a television.
“It was crazy. There were people everywhere,” Silva said.
Sears opened at 8 p.m. Thursday and stayed open all night. The store enjoyed a steady flow of customers all night.
“It's the first year we open at 8 p.m. We had an amazing turnout, People were lined up,” Cuauhtemoc Martinez, store manager, said on Friday.
“We actually had a lot of business, and it carried on all day today. It was definitely amazing,” he added.
Televisions were the hot items at Sears, from 32-inch sets for $97 to 50-inch sets for $299. Compared to other years, sales seemed to be trending higher this year, Martinez noted.
He thanked the Yuma community for supporting the store in “economic tough times.”
“We appreciate everyone spending their hard-earned money at Sears and the other mom-and-pop stores at the Southgate Mall,” Martinez added.