Out with the food, in with the gifts
Nov 23, 2012 (Menafn - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Some Lubbock retail stores started their Black Friday sales early for the convenience of their customers.
K-Mart beat out other stores, starting their Black Friday sales as early as 6 a.m. Thursday. Other stores like Sears, Bealls, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart started their deals at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, following Target starting at 9 p.m.
Customers were lined outside of Bealls and Sears at 6 p.m. Thursday to get first dibs on the hottest deals. As soon as 8 p.m. hit, it was every person for themselves.
Staff members at each store tried to keep a strategy of letting 20 people in at a time but that soon came to a stop. At 8:05 p.m., five minutes after Sears opened, a representative was yelling "TVs and tablets will be gone by the time you get upstairs" to the customers rushing to get in.
"These lines are ridiculous, and the people get crazy if they think someone is trying to cut them," said Mike Davis as he waited in the Sears line. "I told myself I was going to stop doing this every year but I just can't."
Troy Knight, Sears store manager, said based on feedback from Sears' reward shoppers, the store decided to open at 8 p.m. as opposed to midnight.
"It's better and more convenient for them," Knight said. "Our main focus is to please the customers and making sure they're staying safe."
K-Mart manager Thomas Hinkle said his store had three separate sales going on: from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. today and 5 a.m. today to close.
Briana Okaford said she visited the store earlier without even realizing there was a sale going on.
"I came in to look around earlier today while my husband was at home cooking the turkey," said Okaford. "I wanted to see what I could buy later but little did I know there was already a sale going on. I bought a few things then, but now I'm back for more."
Last year around 5 a.m. on Black Friday, K-Mart had 400 people in line waiting for big deals, Hinkle said.
This year was expected to bring similar traffic but Hinkle said he's more worried about pleasing the customers than making the sales.
"We are all going to have cheap prices," said Hinkle. "It's not about competing, it's about taking care of the customers. If we take care of them, they will come back. We can control how we take care of customers but we can't control sales or quantities."
Target executive team leader Josh Fitchett said the store looks forward to meeting the customers' needs and works to keep them and his staff safe.
"I got here around six (p.m.)," said Whitney Bailey as she waited at the front of the line for the 9 p.m. opening. "I used to try and show up to stores an hour before they opened but I've learned my lesson."
Customers who were asked if they preferred earlier shopping hours over midnight unanimously agreed it was more convenient for them.
Some stores in the South Plains Mall opened at midnight, giving shoppers a variety of merchandise to choose from.
Kristin Wolf, general manager at GAP in the mall, said the store switched things up this year and decided to call Black Friday "Bright Friday" to represent all the bright colors in the store.
Officials didn't order extra inventory for the store but corporate provided more than enough merchandise for the shoppers, Wolf said.
"We were extremely busy last year so we have prepared ourselves for the same traffic coming in Friday."
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