Is shopping the new Thanksgiving tradition?Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck
PHOENIX -- Lined up outside Best Buy, some for several days, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day for the hard-core bargain hunters without the door-buster deals.
“This should be a tradition,” said Katherine Nguyen, who had been camped out since Wednesday afternoon, hoping to get a good deal on a television and a lap-top.
Nguyen is one of hundreds of thousands of shoppers who will forego a traditional holiday meal with family for long lines and big sales.
Others will venture out after the meal or on Black Friday. In total, about 140 million people are expected to shop this Thanksgiving weekend. That number is down from last year’s 220 million shoppers, but many stores are still offering savings on everything from toys to electronics.
The deals were once reserved for the day after Thanksgiving, but the shopping is sliding into the actual holiday this year. Stores like Best Buy, K Mart, and Target are opening at 8 or 9 p.m. on Thursday, instead of on Black Friday.
“It doesn’t bother me at all, I don’t mind that they’re opening on Thursday,” said Elizabeth Weeston, who was waiting in line at the Christown Specturm Mall Target for an X-Box.
Weeston spent the night in a folding chair. At the K Mart off the I-17 and Northern, several people had pitched tents or set out sleeping bags.
Tim Harden spent Wednesday night sleeping on a blanket in front of K Mart. He says spending Thanksgiving Day away from his two children and 8-months-pregnant wife is worth it, because he’s bringing home a gift for the whole family that he couldn’t otherwise afford. The second person in line, he’s hoping to save about $400 on a plasma TV.
“In a week’s time, I make about $400,” Harden said, “So if I just sacrifice this one day, saving money is like making money. That’s $400 I don’t have to spend right there in my pocket. I’ll give it to my kids for Christmas.”
At the Litchfield Park Best Buy, one man at the front of the line set up a television, and another shopper was cooking bacon and eggs, with big plans for dinner to share with the crowd.
“We’ll be deep-frying a turkey tonight. We’ve got 10 pounds of mashed potatoes coming. Ten pounds of stuffing coming down,” he said.
Scott Williams brought his son to camp out with him at Best Buy. He said he looks at his Thanksgiving tradition of waiting in line for the holiday deals as time spent with a new sort of family.
“The people here are great. We’re all like a big family community,” he said.