Black Friday Deals Bring Crowds to Brentwood and Maplewood
Crowds from the metropolitan area line up and race through the big box stores for holiday bargains.
Bonita Brock and Cicely Tucker, two St. Louis County residents, waited through rain, sleet and snow for a 32" television with Blu-ray player and a Nintendo Wii.
Holiday shoppers endured 20 degree temperatures in Brentwood and Maplewood in the early morning on Black Friday. They hoped to score great deals on appliances and electronics.
Brock and Tucker, mother and daughter, were first in line at the Brentwood Best Buy for the "Friday Doorbuster Specials." An employee from the Sports Authority, next door, took pity and gave them a 10-pack of hand warmers. Best Buy employees walked the line passing out tickets for limited-number items. Shoppers waited until 5 a.m. for the doors to open.
"It's a family tradition," Tucker said. They've been first in line for six years now.
Further back, Chris Hutzel, CJ Pagano and Mac Mcalister were in line for laptops and stereo equipment. They had been there since midnight.
"It's 100 percent worth it," Pagano said.
Hutzel's girlfriend had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, so he had plenty of warm clothing. "The sleeping bag was key," he said.
Meanwhile, over at Target, the doors opened at 4 a.m. Carts blocked all the doors but one, and folks entered in single file. Employee Erin Johnson said she told the shoppers not to run but some did anyway.
"It was all about the TVs," she said.
Amy Schmidt came for to buy a TV but had to settle for her fourth choice.
"Apparently I wasn't violent enough," she joked. She said the TVs were snatched up in two minutes. "If you see someone with a Westinghouse, they were the most aggressive."
Brandon Tolson and Cindy Lyles, from the Metro East side, came just for the experience. They left with only a T-shirt for a souvenir. Lyles said people ran in the door as Target employees rolled carts to them on run. Tolson and Lyles said they ran and screamed for the fun of it but no one even noticed them.
"It was amazing, fun, I'm awed," Lyles said.
Over at the Maplewood Commons Walmart, which is open 24 hours, portable hard drives, digital photo frames and Blu-ray TVs were wrapped in black plastic in the aisles with signs that they'd be unwrapped at 5 a.m. Individual lines for each item snaked through the store. Crowd control specialists in orange vests and Maplewood police officers made sure things stayed calm.
Tee Tee, from Maplewood, was toward the front of the line for a good deal on a printer.
"I can chit chat for five minutes," she said, "then you better look out."
At 5 a.m., employees were given the "Go!" through walkie-talkies and pulled off the plastic. Shoppers grabbed their prize and went for the next, or raced the crowd to the checkout.
Back at the Best Buy, Tyal and Corey Barton, from the Central West End, had just arrived, hoping to score a netbook, but were too late and were leaving empty-handed. They'd also been to Target and Walmart.
"It wasn't worth it," Corey said, as they walked next door to the Sports Authority.