Normally, Lisa Thompson is pulling a turkey out of the oven at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving day while her extended family gathers for a leisurely afternoon of feasting.
This year, she staged dinner for 1 p.m. She wanted to be in line for Toys R Us’ 5 p.m. opening.
“I wouldn’t have changed my plans for $5 to $10 in savings,” said Thompson, of Coeur d’Alene.
But by shopping at the Spokane Valley toy outlet on Thursday, she saved more than $100 on three items that her 8-year-old twins want for Christmas.
“When you’re spending $30, $40 or even $50 per toy, that’s a lot of money,” Thompson said.
Facebook is full of people who pledged not to shop on Thanksgiving, but plenty of others were reluctant to miss out. Hundreds of local shoppers waited in line Thursday for bargains on toys, electronics, clothing and home appliances at Macy’s, Sears, Wal-Mart, Shopko, Target and other stores that held pre-Black Friday sales.
Nationally, 33 million Americans were expected to hit the malls and other retail outlets on Thanksgiving, though today – Black Friday – remains the largest shopping day of the weekend, with an expected 97 million people shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.
“Family’s way more important than getting a good deal,” Spokane Valley resident Mike Campbell said.
But when he found himself rattling around the house after an early dinner and his wife’s departure for work at 3 p.m., Campbell decided to check out the day’s bargains at Best Buy.
Shopping on Thanksgiving was a first for Gary Fricke. “I’m not usually much for crowds and lines,” the Deer Park resident said. The incentive was a $100 savings on the Kindle Fire tablet, which was one of Best Buy’s door-buster sales.
So, after dinner, and after watching an old Gonzaga basketball game, Fricke and his wife drove to the Spokane Valley store. She waited in the car while he stood in line for the 6 p.m. opening.
Susan Kemp, of Calgary, Alberta, her two daughters and other friends were also shopping on Thanksgiving. They left home at 5 a.m. to arrive in Spokane to take advantage of sales that started in the late afternoon.
Shopping Spokane’s Black Friday sales is a tradition for the women. U.S. retailers offer deeper discounts on many items, said Kemp, who tracks price comparisons and expects to take about $3,000 worth of merchandise home to Calgary.
But Kemp, who’s accustomed to 10 p.m. or midnight openings, wasn’t sure what to make of stores opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day. It wasn’t a conflict for her – Canadians celebrate their national day of thanks in October.
However, “if it was my Thanksgiving, I probably wouldn’t be here,” she said.