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Diehard shoppers strategize for post-turkey day sales


Others shop ahead to avoid the madness



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Megan Herbert of Belmont said she tries to avoid the crowds post-turkey day and does not see the point of hunting down the best bargains on the holidays until her 10-month-old daughter gets a little older. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
November 23, 2010
While the diehard "Black Friday" shoppers are certainly still around, plotting for a manic shopping spree the day after Thanksgiving to score the lowest deals on the most enviable products, some shoppers avoid the mobs by shopping weeks ahead.

Even in this shaky economy, some shoppers still treat Black Friday like the plague and sacrifice paying higher prices on less hectic days of the week prior to the holiday hoopla to avoid long lines, a lack of parking spaces, and high-strung shoppers amped up on coffee.

Jen and Todd Watson of Gilford have two young girls. They try to shop far in advance to avoid the holiday mobs, especially during Black Friday.

"We stay away from all the stores and never really tried to shop on Black Friday. It's crazy and unbelievable. I don't need a discount that badly," said Todd Watson, who tries scoring the best deals online rather than in stores.

Meanwhile, Black Friday shoppers are willing to camp outside of major electronic stores and shopping plazas the night before for the ultimate deal on big items like flat screen televisions. Some stay awake as long as possible for the midnight shopping extravaganza at the Tanger Outlets in Tilton, or even wake up at 4 a.m. to beat crowds at big-box stores and malls.

The diehard shoppers in the region made it through Black Friday last year and they plan to do so again with new strategies in hand, as well as an idea of the hot ticket items this year – most of which can be found in the electronic aisle.

According to seasoned shoppers, electronics such as the Wii, a popular home video console released by Nintendo a couple years back, is still high in demand. Although lines may not be as long as they used to and prices have already gone down in the last couple years, an update has customers scrambling for the latest version. The new use of a connected wireless sensor allows for the participant to interact with a video game without even using a bar, and acts on just the movement of their body.

Zhu Zhu Pets seem to be a thing of the past as well. While they were a hot item for kids last year, the digital Barbie with its own virtual world may take over with the young girls this season.

Other popular items on shoppers' lists this year include the iPod, the iPad, flat screened televisions, and any other new, improved or innovative electronics. The iPad, relatively new compared to other Apple products, is a wireless tablet computer similar to the iPod Touch and can be used for audio, books, music, movies, games, viewing Web content, and more.

Multipurpose contraptions such as the iPhone, also known as a "smart phone" by Apple Inc. and the Android, also known as the "Droid," are also still in popular demand this season.

For personal gifts, many shoppers are still hunting down a bargain deal on shoes such as the popular UGGs boot brand for themselves or loved ones who missed the fad the first time around.

Michayla Anja of Laconia said she and her friends have a few of these items on their list this year and plan to attend the midnight madness sales at the outlets in Tilton in the wee hours of Black Friday for some of the best deals.

"We get there early, about 30 minutes before midnight," said Anja. "When everything opens up in Tilton we literally shop until we drop, until we find the best deals."

Anja and her friends said they all plan to start Black Friday off the right way with lots of coffee and a store-by-store strategy in place. Anja said she expects a busy midnight shopping spree at the local outlets this year, since last year was packed as well.

Cassi Sticht of Meredith has been dubbed the "Black Friday Shopping Queen" by a friend or two and it is easy to see why, since she barely sleeps the night before post-turkey day and is ready to shop at 4 a.m.

Sticht and her friend Megan McLean of Gilford often shop together and Sticht's friend has observed that she makes a list of gift ideas well in advance based on what family and friends request for gifts to avoid the black hole of shopping with no direction.

Last year Sticht went to Concord but this year plans to browse through the outlets in Tilton bright and early to score some deals.

"We may not even sleep the night before. A good time to go is usually around 4:30 a.m. to beat the crowds," said Sticht.

McLean agreed and said that while she does not consider herself as much of a diehard shopper, she does trust her friend's strategies and finds it fun to immerse herself in all the shopping madness.

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