By KAUSTUV BASU
10:10 PM EST, November 22, 2012
For many shoppers and retailers, Black Friday now begins in the early evening hours on Thursday.
This was evident Thursday at the Walmart store on Garland Groh Boulevard where a steady stream of shoppers started arriving by 7 p.m.
Metal barricades had been readied. Police officers kept a watch. Families huddled in front of the store as they strategized about which section of the store they would check out first.
The clatter of empty shopping carts being wheeled into the store by shoppers seemed to increase by the minute.
At Hagerstown Premium Outlets, some stores such as Kate Spade were scheduled to open by 9 p.m. while others would open about midnight.
But lines of eager shoppers, many sipping their lattes, were already forming in front of some of the stores.
As many as 100 customers had collected in front of the Coach store.
Sharonda Savoy, who lives in Washington, D.C., said she loved to collect Coach handbags.
“I also like to give them away as gifts,” she said.
Her sister, Vilisha Medley, a Hagerstown resident, described how they had dressed in layers to ward off the cold.
As they waited, some shoppers pressed their faces to the shop windows to get a glimpse of the products on sale. Inside the Coach store, shop assistants bustled around, making last minute adjustments to the displays and the price tags.
Clores Robinson, a resident of Takoma Park, Md., stood in front of the Tommy Hilfiger store, hoping to buy heavily discounted T-shirts when the store opened.
Her husband, Michael Robinson, said that they would spend the night at a nearby motel.
“It’s going to get much busier here Friday,” he said.
At the Walmart on Garland Groh Boulevard, the shoppers seemed much more frenzied.
Steve Hemstreet stood waiting outside, smoking a cigarette.
He said he had his eyes on a 60-inch Vizio TV, which would go on sale later in the night for $300 less than its usual advertised price.
“Better safe than sorry,” he said, explaining his reasons for arriving early.
Hemstreet said he had a good idea of the store’s layout and was going to wait somewhere near the electronics section of the store.
“I’m not taking any chances. I’m not going to browse. I am going to go and get the TV,” he said.
Donna Swope of Hagerstown said she had her eyes on the Vizio TV too. She said she was probably going to pick up an iPad and clothes.
“My son is already in there waiting for me,” she said.
Swope said the steadily increasing throng of shoppers did not bother her.
“They hit me. I hit them back,” she said.
Alberto Calderone, and his son Carlos Calderone, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said they had not found any “spectacular deals.”
Still, the duo found the price on a Bissell vacuum cleaner tempting enough to buy one.
“It is getting crazy in there, it’s going to be wild later,” Carlos Calderone said.
The electronics and the food sections were already very crowded, he said.
But not everyone milling around the store was there for the special Black Friday sale.
Dave Edwards of Hagerstown said he was at the Walmart to pick up groceries. “They still have the best prices,” he said.
Mark Twigg said he was at the store to pick up his three children from his ex-wife.
“It is a madhouse. It is not part of the Christmas spirit,” Twigg said. “It’s about Christmas. It’s not about the deals.”
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