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‘Black Friday’ draws crowds

This year’s “Black Friday” sales Nov. 27 started drawing shoppers to some stores before the day had even begun, as area retailers reported customer traffic at least equal to, and in some cases busier than, previous years.

According to Quil Ceda Village Walmart Assistant Manager Virginia Jones, their store’s sales rush began at 9 p.m. Nov. 26, creating a four-hour “Black Thursday” before midnight.

“It’s usually 2 or 3 a.m. before it gets that heavy,” Jones said.

“Expect to be sharing space with hundreds of other people,” Jones said. “Know what you want. Don’t expect a perfect experience on a day like today, but keep a positive attitude.”

Christine Holloway takes this advice to heart. For the past seven years, she and four fellow natives of Vancouver, B.C., have crossed the border the day before “Black Friday” to stay at a hotel and go shopping at the Quil Ceda Village Walmart as a team. This year, their purchases included clothes, toys, children’s bedding, a TV, a DVD player and a camera.

Arlington’s David and Darci Depner showed up at Walmart at 4 a.m. Nov. 27 and were out the doors an hour and a half later, on their way toward the Marysville Fred Meyer store, but David Depner estimated that they spent close to an hour in one of several check-out lines that extended to the back of the store. It was their first “Black Friday” at Walmart, although they’re regular “Black Friday” shoppers.

“We didn’t know where some of the stuff was at,” said David Depner, whose purchases included pajamas and gifts for his and Darci’s two daughters. “We probably should have been more prepared, by coming to the store to map it out. We don’t have a huge list. We just wanted to get all of our shopping done at once.”

Arlington resident Cheryl McGuire is a 35-year veteran of “Black Friday” shopping who was combing the toys aisles of the Marysville Fred Meyer to get gifts for her three grandsons. Her day began at 2 a.m., when she finalized her shopping list before heading to her first stop at Walmart. She expected to spend about $150 by the end of the day.

“There’s a lot of planning involved,” McGuire said. “Who are you buying for, what do they want, which stores can you go to to maximize your savings, and what times should you go? You hear about people being rude, but I’ve never experienced it. I’ve had folks watch my cart for me. It’s almost always been a pleasant experience.”

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