The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 23, 2012

Earlier Black Friday kicks off shopping season

This year's Black Friday shoppers were split into two distinct groups: those who wanted to fall into a turkey-induced slumber and those who'd rather shop instead.

Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving that's named Black Friday because it's traditionally when retailers turn a profit for the year. But after testing how shoppers would respond to earlier hours last year, stores such as Target and Toys R Us this year opened as early as Thanksgiving evening. That led shoppers on a mission to find the best Black Friday deals to ask a difficult question: Deal with the crowds now or later?

Crystal Camacho, 19, and Sammy Caban, 23, got to Best Buy in the Manhattan borough of New York City at 12:30 a.m. on Black Friday with one goal in mind, a 40-inch Toshiba TV on sale for $180. They were determined, even though they both worked on Thanksgiving Day and had to work on Black Friday, she as a restaurant hostess and he as salesperson at GameStop. Five hours later, a little after 5 a.m., they walked out with the TV.

"It was crazy but well worth it," Caban said. "We got lucky."

Elizabeth Garcia, a sales rep from the city's Bronx borough, decided for a later shopping started at about 3:30 a.m. at a nearby Toys R Us in New York's Times Square. Garcia, who has three children ages three, five and seven, said she specifically decided on the later time to avoid the crowds on Thanksgiving when the store opened at 8 p.m. She believes that was the best decision: Last year, Garcia almost got into a fight over a Tinker Bell couch, but this year things were much calmer.

"This year I wasn't about to kill people," she said.

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