Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 10:46 a.m., Friday, November 24, 2006

Thousands wait in dark for Black Friday bargains

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Thousands of bleary-eyed shoppers spent Thanksgiving night dozing in beach chairs and sitting on sidewalks in front of shopping centers and big box retailers, hoping to snap up bargains that traditionally come with the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season known as Black Friday.

Ronald Ushijima, a retired engineer from Kalihi, showed up at the Circuit City store in Pearl City at 5 a.m. yesterday. A $599 laptop was at the top of his shopping list. And he was first in line when the doors opened 24 hours later this morning.

As people drove and walked by on Thanksgiving Day, "We were like the freak show," said Ushijima, who sat in a beach chair steps from Circuit City's locked doors and dined on a peanut butter sandwich.

Stacey Gonsalves, a surfwear store manager, arrived at Circuit City at 3 a.m. with her fiancee, Tim Larson, for her first Black Friday shopping day. Looking over a line of more than 300 people waiting to get inside, she said, "It's insane," Gonsalves added, "It's crazy....We're all crazy."

As the minutes ticked down to Circuit City's 5 a.m. opening, dozens of people crowded the entrance area and a second, unofficial line began to form.

Store workers and security guards repeatedly told people in the second line that they would not be allowed in until the first line had filed into the store. Still, the second line continued to grow.

While security guards dealt with the second line, a handful of people who had wedged their way into the first line were escorted from the store area.

"It's crazy," said Courtney Daniels, an oceanography graduate student at the University of Hawai'i. "You've got a line of people waiting to cut in line."

The parking lot at Toys R Us, was quiet when Angel Kaeo of Nanakuli arrived at 9:30 last night.

This morning, when she was at the front of the line with about 200 people snaked in a meandering line behind her, Kaeo said she felt lucky.

"I have 25 kids I have to buy for," Kaeo said. "It makes me feel good I got here early."

Kaleo Torres and his wife, Jessica, of Waimanalo, at 3:30 a.m. stood at the back of the line waiting to get into Toys R Us to shop for their nieces. The couple had already shopped at Kmart and K B Toys.

"These kids really better appreciate this," Kaleo quipped, noting that he found the lines and shopping during the early morning hours less than thoroughly enjoyable. "But it's supposed to be well worth it in the end, right?"

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com.