WASHINGTON CITY –After over 33 hours of camping out on cold cement, Jessica Wheatley and her family were let into a local electronics store at midnight Thanksgiving, to join the Black Friday battle against other shoppers for deals on laptops, games and other electronics. All across the city devoted bargain hunters jostled for position to cash in on similar deals as part of the annual Black Friday sales.
“If you want to do this bring a lot of warm clothes and food,” Wheatley said. “And bring a lot of family, because it helps to switch so you are not stuck.”
Wheatley, her parents, and siblings traded off holding the first spot in line at one store, while the other family members snagged deals at other nearby stores. Dozens of retail locations in the city have had lines forming over the last few days, and as the deals surpass previous years so do the lines of people waiting to get them.
According to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association 37 percent of American adults will be shopping as part of Black Friday, and a startling 57 percent will purchase a gift over the shopping weekend. In 2011 the expected amount was only 47 percent.
Furthermore, the amount of money spent over Thanksgiving weekend has grown steadily over the last few years. According to the National Retail Federation spending hit a record $52.5 billion last year, and is expected to be even higher this year.
Despite the growth and the number of people who enjoy the frenzy and excitement of Black Friday, some people are not as enthusiastic. As stores began sales as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, opponents of Black Friday claim it is taking away from a family-oriented holiday. Although shoppers are out for the enjoyment and thrill, many employees are subjected to longer shifts, odd hours, and the obvious influx of customers.
One of the many stores under attack by protesters is Target. Nevertheless, despite frequenting the crosshairs of people against Black Friday, Target has remained one of the leading retailers in the nation. Executives of Target attempt to put the controversy at rest in a recent blog post.
“When we made the decision to open our doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the first thing we did was reach out to all of our store leaders and ask them to have discussions with their team members and seek volunteers wanting to work,” Tina Schiel, Executive Vice President Stores for Target, said. “We had so many team members who wanted to work on Thursday that hundreds of our stores are now keeping lists of volunteers who want to work if shifts open up.”
According to the statistics, they might just need them. Consumers expect to be approximately 30 percent done with their holiday shopping by the end of the weekend. Experts continue to stress the importance of being safe and treating others kindly as you race to complete your holiday shopping this season.
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