Shoppers jammed parking lots from Wandemere to Spokane Valley to North Idaho this morning, ignoring snowy roads and cold temperatures to buy 46-inch televisions and 700-count sheets.
At the Northpointe shopping Center, Best Buy Manager Keat Shankle estimated as many as 2,000 shoppers had been through the store by 6:20 a.m. A sub-$200 laptop was a big attraction, but discounted Nook e-book readers were also selling well, he said.
Sally Morden emerged from the store with an X-Box and DVDs. She was headed to Target, where husband Duane was still 30 minutes deep in the checkout line.
Asked how much more shopping they had to do, Morden displayed a notebook with three pages of entries. The print was small.
Mallory Arana and her husband, Aristo, left the Sears at the Silver Lake Mall with a full shopping bag this morning. They found slippers for $3.99, blankets for $2 and an $8.99 sweater, normally priced around $60.
The Coeur d'Alene couple, who were shopping for family members, were headed next to Macy's and Target. Mallory Arana said she's not an online shopper. After Thanksgiving dinner, they sat down and went through the newspaper inserts to find the best deals.
At the Shopko on East Sprague in Spokane Valley, Karen McCalister was shifting her weight from foot to foot, bemoaning her lack of boots.
Despite injections of hot coffee and cider, the Bullhead, Ariz., resident was not fully prepared for the transition from "90 degrees to nothing below."
McCalister was after a $59 camcorder.
Janet Foley and daughter Kate started their morning with a 1 a.m. stop at Old Navy, but the 3 a.m. opening at Kohl's was their priority. Shoes, clothes and a mattress topper were on their shopping lists.
"The shoes were jammed," said Kate, especially the boot aisles.
"People were grabbing, like, six at a time," she said.
Janet said Fred Meyer would be their last stop before a nap. But they were planning on accepting the Black Friday Local Shopping Challenge proposed by small downtown Spokane stores and restaurants later in the day.
Meanwhile, Ida Wilson was waiting outside Pac Sun in Coeur d'Alene, a clothing store that caters to teens and pre-teens. She'd heard that the store was giving away gift cards, but ended up instead with a coupon good for 20 percent off purchases. Wilson and her husband, Trevis (cq) have three children, ages nine to 12.
Their Christmas gifts will probably include clothing this year, she said, though, "That's not really what they want. They're in that weird stage where they're not really sure what they want."
She doesn't plan to buy any of her Christmas presents through the Internet.
"I don't do any of my shopping online," Wilson said. "I'm too scared to let my credit card out there."
At the World Market on North Division, shoppers hoping to score one of 120 ornaments for those first in line were treated to hot coffee and cookies on a cart _ $229.99 _ on a cart outside the door.
Tom and Judy Sutherland were looking for a TV stand. Seems they had been at Best Buy earlier with a 40-inch TV in mind. Sold out. But they bumped into a woman with a 46-inch model in a cart, ready to go.
But she had just learned another family member had already purchased one at another store.
The Sutherlands took the 46-inch, $450 problem off her hands.
That's what Christmas is about, right?
Janice Tucker does not share Wilson's fear of the Web. She expects to do about 40 percent of her Christmas shopping online this year. She'll buy books online, plus electronics for her kids and tools for her husband, who's a mechanic.
But Tucker still joined the early morning throngs hitting retail stores. The Post Falls woman got up at 1:30 a.m. to be at Kohl's for the 3 a.m. opening with her mother and her daughter. Tucker bought a $9.99 throw blanket. She said her mom, Donna Nash, got the best deal of the day, purchasing an E-reader that was normally $200 for $60 after discounts, sales and coupons.
Tucker started looking for Black Friday deals about 1 1/2 weeks ago, checking retailers' Web sites. Thats a change from year's past, when stores kept their deals under wraps until Thursday.
"I do a lot of the computer stuff -- the sneak peaks," she said
Tucker used the Internet to chart her shopping course Friday: Kohl's, Macy's Junior for her 14-year-old daughter Kennadie (cq), Sears, JC Penney's and Tri-State Outfitters, which was giving away free socks at 8 a.m.
Afterwards, she and her mom and daughter planned to meet seven other female relatives for breakfast.
Her sister-in-laws never went to bed, Tucker said. They headed out at midnight to look for deals at Toys R Us and Wal-Mart.