Many Santa Clarita residents refused to hit the snooze button Friday morning as they woke up as early as 4 a.m. to seek out the best Black Friday steals and deals.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans, or 137.4 million people, are expected to shop both in stores and online during Thanksgiving weekend, according to an annual survey by National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
However, despite the rush to retailers, many shoppers at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, open all day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., found stores to be less crowded than in years past.
“It was a lot less crowded this year,” said 17-year-old Maya Botvin who arrived at 6 a.m. with her friend, 17-year-old Klara Zavala. “We expected it to be crazy but it was a lot less crowded.”
Botvin usually seeks out shopping deals Thanksgiving night, but chose to arrive to the mall when it opened Friday, a choice she said she would not make again.
“It’s not worth it,” she said. “The only thing I really wanted wasn’t on sale.”
Marie Wiles ordinarily braves the stores Thursday evening as well, but chose to shop online this year and shop at the mall at 6 a.m. Friday. She noticed that the mall was not as hectic as it had been in previous years.
“I’ve talked to cashiers who have said things have been spread out,” Wiles said. “But there
are lots of good deals.”
Lynette Jackson, who began shopping at 6 a.m. with her daughter, said the smaller crowds were a pleasant surprise.
“It made the shopping experience much nicer,” she said. “I was actually really successful.”
For others, the bustling department stores and early morning spending was a lot to handle.
“It was pretty intense,” said Amanda Vidal, who arrived at the mall in the early morning with her family. “I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in the coming weeks.”
Many shoppers did shop ‘til they dropped, as they slumped down into comfy chairs and benches scattered throughout Valencia Town Center to rest their feet and their eyes.
“I am ready for bed,” said 16-year-old Caesar Preciado. “I woke up at 4 a.m. just to get ready and we came back from a Thanksgiving party around 12 a.m.”
Friends Felicia Kubinski and Dawn Stinson, who began shopping around 7:20 a.m., took a break from scouring the
mall to get some much-needed caffeine.
“We got our Starbucks and then we’re going to keep shopping,” Kubinski said.
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