Black Friday madness at area stores, malls

November 23, 2012

PHOTOS of Black Friday 2012 from Action News viewers - For website and iPad visitors | For mobile visitors

Fueled by Thanksgiving turkey. shoppers arrived at the King of Prussia mall early - very early in fact. More than 200 stores opened at midnight, four hours earlier than last year.

"Last year we had a number of retailers who opened nationally at midnight. There was an even greater demand this year," said mall representative Kathy Smith.

As the early morning hours plugged on, some yawned and seemed surprised to find themselves so far from their beds.

The doors opened at Lord and Taylor around 5:00 am. The lines had already formed, with shoppers eager for the $20 door-buster.

Discounts were marked across the mall: prices slashed, sales abound.

"It's fun to me to come with everybody and just grab things you can't really afford, and have fun doing it," said Chaz Slaughter of Southwest Philadelphia.

Meantime in New Jersey, the Cherry Hill Mall was mobbed overnight. Big discounts lured out even bigger crowds.

"The sales are good, the lines are long but they're moving so it's not too bad," said Marie Berdini.

David Smith says he wasn't there for the sales.

"We're out to see a movie. It's the one day a year we can get a babysitter for cheap – the day after Thanksgiving, so we're enjoying couples date time," said Smith.

Megan McGee and her mom came prepared with a plan, but they say they weren't fully satisfied with what they saw.

"Some deals are really good, some not so much. Yesterday at Target I don't think they were as good as they have been in the past," said McGee.

Over in Limerick Township at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets there were no early birds. The number of midday shoppers at the outlets rivaled the midnight and dawn crowds at large shopping malls.

"She said we were going to get up at 12 but we didn't because we were still sleeping," said Jalyn Jones.

The Jones' tried to make it for the overnight chaos but didn't start shopping until 10:00 a.m.

Stephanie Eberly's family had a plan, everyone was assigned a job.

"We did OK, we didn't need to go out at midnight , that was not our game plan," said Eberly.

Friday shoppers waited in lines out the door and lines inside.

Of the 150 stores, most opened by 9:00 pm Thanksgiving night. Keri Branch says Premium Outlets target a specific type of shopper here.

"We consider our outlet shoppers to be savvy shoppers, they plan ahead of time," said Branch.

Store managers estimate that the flow of people and cash at individual stores is the same, if not more, than last year.

The only trouble for most shoppers was the parking lot.

There are several thousand parking spots at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets but not enough for the weekend crowds.

Organizers offered shuttle service so shoppers could park off-site.

Black Friday shoppers were willing to travel near and far to get their holiday gifts at bargain prices - some at any cost.

There were several complaint that customers were getting pushy as they struggled to get to the front of the checkout lines. However across the region, there were no reports of violence or injuries.

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