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Shoppers hit malls, stores for Black Friday deals

Photo: David McGregor  Jessie Downing and her aunt Laura Clark look for Black Friday deals at BrandsMart USA at around 6 a.m. on Friday morning.

Photo: David McGregor Jessie Downing and her aunt Laura Clark look for Black Friday deals at BrandsMart USA at around 6 a.m. on Friday morning.

Reader poll

Do you shop on Black Friday?

  • Yes, it's the best way to get bargains 11%
  • Only if there is an item I really want 11%
  • No way. I can't think of a worse way to spend a day 62%
  • Cyber Monday is the way to go 16%

37 total votes.

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Photo: David McGregor Allison and Jason Braswell search for a video game at Toys R Us in Buford on Friday morning.

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Photo: David McGregor Kem Omer, of Lilburn, looks around for gifts as he pulls a shopping cart full of merchandise at BrandsMart USA on Friday morning.

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Photo: David McGregor Mandy and David Callaway, of Covington, look through an advertisment insert while shopping at Toys R Us in Buford on Friday morning.

BUFORD — Black Friday is synonymous with buying gifts at low prices, which people take pretty seriously after enjoying the family feast.

To Mandy and David Callaway of Covington, it’s a little more special.

“It’s just a night out,” David Callaway joked.

Mandy Callaway added with a grin, “It’s sad that this is a night out for us.”

The couple have three children to shop for this time of year, which includes the holidays and birthdays.

“They have birthdays in between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” David Callaway said while leaning on the electronics counter at Toys ’R’ Us. “We tell the children to make a huge list and we’ll give it to family.”

On Thanksgiving, the Callaways visit family, eat, then get down to business.

“We meet at my parents’ house — that’s where the children stay — we eat and look through all of the sale papers, figure out where we’re going at what time and what we’re going to buy at what time.”

But these two were just specks in the crowd compared to how many people left their warms beds and leftover turkey to hunt for the best prices.

Jason and Allison Braswell of Athens started their shopping at 8 p.m. Thursday, when many stores opened. The two had already knocked out Old Navy and Walmart, went home for an hour-and-a-half nap, and started again at Toys ’R’ Us.

“This year has not been the easiest, but we always sit down the with paper, we make a list from the kids’ list, then we have a notebook (with more information) ... because in different stores, we have different strategies,” Allison Braswell said about her battle plan. “This is our third year doing this. With an 8-year-old, Old Navy is where we save the most. We brave that one every year because she loves the clothes.”

At BrandsMart USA, Jessie Downing was helping her aunt Laura Clark of Bethlehem with the holiday shopping. Although they didn’t have much of a plan, one thing was for sure, they were going to stores in between the doorbuster hours to avoid the “crazy shoppers.”

“I used to work at Kmart and I remember preparing the store for 20 minutes of chaos,” said Downing, who travels up from St. Marys for the bargain buys. “That’s why we planned to go in between the crazy crowds for our shopping.”

For decades, stores have opened their doors in wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. But this year, that changed when major chains from Target to Toys ’R’ Us opened on Thanksgiving itself, turning the traditional busiest shopping day of the year into a two-day affair.

The earlier hours are an effort by stores to make shopping as convenient as possible for Americans, who they fear won’t spend freely during the two-month holiday season in November and December because of economic uncertainty. Many shoppers are worried about high unemployment and whether or not Congress will be able to reach a budget deal by January before a package of spending cuts and tax increases known as the “fiscal cliff” takes effect.

At the same time, Americans have grown more comfortable shopping on websites that offer cheap prices and the convenience of being able to buy something from smartphones, laptops and tablet computers from just about anywhere. That puts added pressure on brick-and-mortar stores, which can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season, to give consumers a compelling reason to leave their homes.

So those of you who stayed home for the shopping holiday, Cyber Monday is two days away with another round of sales for the holidays. Get ready.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 11 months ago

Hope everyone was happy buying cheap stuff the stores couldn't sell sooner, mostly off-brand names. we still have not gotten away from being a materialistic society of needing "must-have-now" stuff. Don't want to hear that you can't pay your house note next week.

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