For many local shoppers, conquering the chaos of Black Friday is all about strategy.
Mexicali resident Omar Galbec had his game face on as early as Tuesday evening to gain a jump start on the anticipated midnight competition.
“I got in line at 7 p.m. Tuesday to get what I want,” Galbec said after finally passing the automated sliding doors of Best Buy in El Centro at 12 a.m. Friday morning, having waited in line for the “door buster deals” for two days.
Like many others, Galbec was quick to grab all the “need to have” items like a PlayStation 3 game system, 40-inch and a 50-inch Toshiba LCD TVs and a laptop.
Join the discussion and add your comments to this story! Scroll down or click here and tell us what you think.
“My plan was to just go for it all. I got what I really wanted, so now I’m just looking for extra stuff,” Galbec said while eyeing a few Blu-Ray movies.
Galbec was one of many bargain hunters who flooded participating Valley stores throughout Thursday night and into Friday’s early-morning hours in search of the best deals.
As lines stretched around buildings, shoppers stood in 55-degree and below weather, mapping out their moves for buying the season’s hottest items while kicking off the holiday shopping season.
Teamwork was Mexicali resident Alejandro Escoboza’s tactic while shopping at Best Buy with friends Martin Silva Morales and Victor Lopez Sanchez early Friday morning.
The friends were able to separate and cover more ground throughout the store, while having the advantage of purchasing multiple items that were limited to one customer by separating them among each other.
“It’s teamwork because I needed them with me. We were able to buy three tablets and usually you can only buy one for each person so it helped,” Escoboza said.
Planning ahead isn’t just for customers; many stores prepared months in advance for the excitement and madness of Black Friday.
“I think this year our game plan was better. We hired private security, which is what I think has helped control the line outside. Again, safety is the main concern,” Best Buy general manager Jordan Taylor said.
“Last year we saw fights out in the parking lot and none of that has happened this year, so it’s been going good,” Taylor said.
With more than 10,000 customers having walked through Best Buy’s doors last year during Black Friday, Taylor suspects that more were likely to turn up throughout Friday.
“I think that with all the prep work that the staff has put in, I feel we are very well prepared,” he said.
Apart from Best Buy, many other area businesses saw bargain hunters in droves.
Mexicali resident Selene Nevarez spent her Black Friday shopping at Kohl’s.
Other stores that saw large numbers of shoppers included Sears, Walmart and Target, along with the department stores within the Imperial Valley Mall.Sears was one of the few stores that opened its doors at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
“We prepared since Wednesday, so we are ready,” said Sears’s Appliance and Electronics Department manager Dev Sandhu.
Although many of the “hot buy door busters” were long gone when she arrived at work Friday afternoon, Sandhu explained that a steady flow of shoppers were still on the hunt for great deals throughout Friday.
“It’s the busiest time of year. Some people in line outside the store had been waiting to get in since 10 a.m. Thursday; they spent their whole Thanksgiving in line,” Sandhu said.
Local and national shoppers helped the Dow Jones industrial average climb up 172 points to 13,009; the first close above 13,000 for the Dow since Election Day, according to the Associated Press.
With Black Friday completed, many Valley residents have already begun checking off items from their shopping list, as the official holiday shopping season rolls on.
Staff Writer Celeste Alvarez can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org