Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 23, 2012

Shoppers flock to Black and Gray days

TRAVERSE CITY — Kidshan Gurgun, 17, and his friend, a very pregnant Bobbie Hutchinson, 18, sat by their tent hours before kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

They huddled against a brisk wind and falling temperatures Thursday afternoon as the clock ticked toward midnight. Five more hours until they could wade into Best Buy.

Gurgan’s mom, aunt, and 10-year-old cousin completed the group of five who had camped there since Tuesday afternoon, using bathrooms at Speedway and Best Buy and their cars for napping.

“We had pizza and hotdogs for Thanksgiving. Gas station pizza,” Gurgan said.

Like others in the line, their thoughts were on a 40-inch, $179.99 Toshiba television. Hutchinson also mulled her chances of going into labor. She was one day past due. Her mother didn’t think camping out on a Best Buy sidewalk for two nights was the best idea.

“I told her, ‘Well, look at this way. The hospital is way closer’,” said  Hutchinson, of Mancelona.

‘Bonding experience’

Folks from as far as Sault Ste. Marie and Jackson put down their Thanksgiving forks — or never picked them up — to take advantage of the creeping Thursday and midnight Black Friday sales. Earlier in the day, friends and family dropped by turkey dinners for the lucky ones.

Jayne Tomas, 55, who works for the Canadian postal service, drove down from Sault Ste. Marie. She also wanted the 40-inch Toshiba.

“It’s also a day to spend with my 28-year-old son, so it’s a bonding experience.”

The only downside is that it didn’t seem like the tailgate experience of old, since many stayed inside their tents, she said.

Joanne Tuck, 56, a human resources worker, was around the building corner. She only wanted a $10 wireless mouse and a $13 chill pad to keep her laptop cool.

“I really can’t believe I’m standing out here for something like that. But I got my meal in and my nap. My husband was turning on another football game. I said, ‘See ya!’”

To avoid stampedes of previous years, Best Buy and other stores on Thursday issued “tickets” to folks for the hottest items. That pleased Toni Shananaquet, who also camped out.

“Last year, there were people in the parking lot and they bum-rushed the door when it opened. Now they have a police officer and security guy. It can get ugly,” she said.

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