Black Friday shoppers ignored the fiscal cliff and shrugged off a sluggish economy to instead set their sights on a new TV or, in the case of Vickey Ruimveld, four.
The Walmart shopper stood guarding her cart Thursday night. It was piled high with four 40-inch flat-screen TVs, which were going for just under $200 each. Ruimveld, who said she shops Black Friday sales every year, was buying the TVs as gifts for her grandchildren and son.
A quick peek into any major retailer's store on Black Friday revealed big-ticket items were in hot demand. Is it a sign the economy has improved, or that consumers are back to leaning on credit like they did pre-recession?
David Pena, general manager of Moore's Target store, said it's the economy. Crowds were 50 percent bigger Thursday night, with an estimated 3,500 shoppers lined up for the store's 9 p.m. opening.
“Our biggest challenge is the capacity of the building,” Pena said. “We have every lane open.”
By all accounts, retailers' decision to open Thanksgiving night proved profitable. The few holdouts, such as J.C. Penney, which opened at 6 a.m. Friday, were busy, too, as shoppers continued their all-night spree.
Moore resident Amber McQuerry, who is adopting a little girl with her husband, Jason, said she shops Black Friday because they are able to have a bigger Christmas celebration than they would otherwise.
“Your dollar goes further on Black Friday,” she said, waiting at the front of the line at Target, shopping list and flier in hand.
Cindee Riley also said she saves enough money to make the lines and crowds on Black Friday worthwhile. Riley, of Tuttle, shopped at the Norman Toys R Us store Thursday night, her first stop on an agenda that included at least five stores. She planned to spend $2,000 during the night on gifts for her four grandchildren, ages 10, 7, 5 and 3.
She coordinates with 30 other Tuttle-area residents. They divvy up their lists and buy for each other.
“It's kind of an art,” she said.
U.S. holiday sales are expected to increase 4.1 percent this year to $586 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The retail trade association plans to release results of its Black Friday survey on Sunday afternoon.