KINGMAN - This time of year it seems everybody's an early riser - at least as far as shoppers go. This morning, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, bargain hunters filled the aisles of major department and retail stores throughout the city searching for limited time offers on Christmas presents for friends and loved ones.
The day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday, stores offer unmatchable savings. And people are willing to get out of bed before sunrise, some not bothering to step out of their pajamas, to stand in line for up to an hour and a half.
"I'm buying for my hubby," said Anne Barker. "He's home in bed." Barker showed up at Sears off Stockton Hill Road at 3:30 a.m. and parked her lawn chair in front of the door to be first in line for what seemed to be two of the hot ticket items. Unfortunately, they can't be mentioned or her husband will know what she bought him.
Here's a hint: they were power tools.
Barker led the mass of nearly 40 people, the first 25 of whom received $10 off cards as they walked in the door.
"They're thank you cards for coming in so early," a Sears employee said.
The fourth most dedicated shopper, Jeff McNawghton of Lake Havasu City, spent Thanksgiving with his son and made it out early this morning to buy him an early Christmas present. But the one-hour wait wasn't an issue for McNawghton.
"There are lines in Lake Havasu at midnight," he said.
Wal-Mart, not surprisingly, was packed with customers tearing through pallets at 5 a.m. sharp.
The Wal-Mart parking lot, working at probably 90 percent capacity, was like rush-hour traffic in Los Angeles. The retail giant didn't close its doors this year, however, so people waited around for pallets piled high with specialty items and killer bargains to be brought out onto the floor.
The six-hour, Friday-only sale featured 42-inch plasma television sets for less than $1,000, DVDs for less than $2, and the new V-Rocker sound-powered chair, which works with Sony, XBOX and Nintendo game systems, for $40.
Sales on high definition TVs are expected to soar in the fourth quarter as the hottest item of the year, more than doubling last year's fourth-quarter sales with up to $500 savings. Sales are expected to climb to more than 3.2 million units. It appeared that one out of every three carts was filled with an HDTV.
Thanks to the price wars between competing companies, customers saw awesome savings this morning, and will continue to throughout the rest of the fourth quarter.
Happy to have survived the bull-run and relieved at the thought of going back to bed, one family actually cheered when they made it out the front door with two carts packed full of Bratz dolls, TVs and remote controlled Hummers.
Another 20 or more people gathered outside J.C. Penney. When the line across the street at Sears was reaching 35, just five people stood outside in the cold, but a hoard of Penney's shoppers hurried out of their warm cars when the clock struck 5 a.m. to see the 10-percent-off discount on all items, on top of up to 60-percent off on selected items.
Black Friday earns its title as the commencement of the holiday season from two competing theories. One, according to the business and economics world, holds that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the first day companies turn a profit, bringing them out of the red, denoting losses, and into the black, representing profit.
The other, according to consumers and retail workers, is that Black Friday marks one of the most stressful and hectic days of the year as customers and employees have to deal with long lines and early morning grumpiness.