With promotions, discounts and doorbusters already well under way on Thanksgiving Day itself, many big-box retailers are making Black Friday stretch longer than ever. The Lede is checking out the mood of American consumers in occasional vignettes Thursday and Friday as the economically critical holiday shopping season kicks off.
Shoppers waiting outside Sam’s Club in Eagan, Minn., for Friday’s 7 a.m. opening clung to free Starbuck’s Holiday Blend coffee as they endured freezing temperatures and biting winds and collected brightly colored vouchers for laptops and big-screen TVs.
The biggest draw: a 96-cent Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. Once inside, they also beelined for tickets for the 63 Samsungs in stock, which sold out shortly after the store opened. Customers could make an appointment for later in the day or another day to purchase the phone, choosing from three carriers, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.
“O.K., this is my last blue for Sprint,” an employee called out at 7:08 a.m.