If You Discount It, They Will Come
Deal-seekers by the hundreds flocked to White Marsh-area stores.
UPDATE (7:30 a.m.)—By 4:45 a.m., the Walmart parking lot off of White Marsh Boulevard was already filled to capacity. Carloads of shoppers searched in vain for available spaces. Some parked along unmarked curbs. Others drove away in frustration.
But anyone arriving after 1 a.m. already missed the store's hottest Black Friday deal—a 32-inch Emerson HDTV for only $198, regularly priced at more than $300, said Amanda Warfield, 25.
"They sold out almost four hours ago. People waiting outside got tickets," said Warfield, a Perry Hall resident who works in public relations. "It's disappointing, but at least I got this really nice Shop-Vac."
Derrick Mitchell, 43, who drove from Baltimore City, didn't get the TV either. "We could have slept in," said Mitchell, "or gotten an earlier start."
This year, throughout Black Friday weekend, the three days following Thanksgiving, the National Retail Federation projects that 138 million Americans, 4 million more than last year, plan on taking advantage of holiday shopping deals.
Not only is the economy in recovery mode, but retailers have upped the ante on holiday sales, said NRF officials.
"The rules for Black Friday have changed significantly," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving Day to announce their promotions, many retailers are getting shoppers excited about Black Friday by offering sneak peeks of deals in advance, using social media to create buzz, or teasing upcoming deals on their websites."
Promotions also drew crowds to White Marsh Mall and nearby big box stores like Target, which opened at 4 a.m. and offered heavily discounted electronics and $10 gift cards to anyone spending $100 or more.
Michele Crouse, 19, a college student and Perry Hall resident, said she arrived at Target at 3 a.m. "It was packed," Crouse said.
She and a friend then went to Victoria's Secret in White Marsh Mall for discounted sweatshirts, she said. "Now we're going to get some food, go home and go to bed."