Less standing around in early Black Friday lines

As stores opened early and online deals abounded, the Black Friday lines were a little shorter than usual in Sacramento on Thanksgiving Day.

One of the busiest shopping days of the year, Black Friday has lately crept into Thanksgiving. Some customers wait for hours – or days – to take advantage of “doorbuster” sales, which feature limited numbers of popular items marked down sharply to attract buzz.

This year, several stores decided to open their doors at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Thursday.

At 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving, three hours before opening, no one was lined up outside the front of the Sears department store at Arden Fair Shopping Center. Two years ago, by a couple hours before opening, 80 people had lined up outside.

At nearby Toys R Us, four people were waiting in line two hours before the store opened. Two years ago, around 45 people were sitting outside the store two hours before opening.

Erin Crandall and Gabriela Chacon, both of Sacramento, were a little surprised to be so close to their goal, even though they arrived at Toys R Us just three hours before opening. Each wanted a Polaroid Dual Core Tablet computer for $40. Both were getting the tablet for their children.

“They take my phone,” said Crandall, referring to her kids. “You can’t go wrong with $40.”

At the Target store on Broadway, about 20 people were in line three hours before opening, including Sacramento resident Sarai Sanchez and her friend Adriana Lopez. They hoped to score several appliances at discounted prices.

“We were thinking there were going to be a lot of people,” Sanchez said. “We were surprised.”

Sacramento residents Savanna and Gina Duran got in line at Target about six hours before opening to buy a 40-inch television for $119.

“I have a feeling they are going to get here last minute,” Savanna Duran said of the expected Black Friday shoppers.

The Best Buy at Arden Fair attracted a more sizable crowd – about 75 people – a couple of hours before the doors opened.

“It depends on what is on sale,” said Anthony Sexton, explaining why Best Buy drew more people than other stores. “Most of the electronics, you’re not going to see (the same deals) online.”

Sexton, who took his place in line roughly four hours before the store’s opening, hoped to buy a pair of Beats by Dre headphones for $80. Next to him stood Navi Quinones, a Sacramento resident who wanted to buy an Nintendo Wii game console bundle for $360. Quinones planned to leave the store and go to Thanksgiving dinner as soon as possible. “Hopefully not empty handed,” he said. “It’s the luck of the draw.”

Call The Bee’s Phillip Reese, (916) 321-1137.