Local shoppers haven't dropped yet

POSTED: 10:43 AM MST Nov 23, 2012 

People were shopping for Black Friday deals earlier than usual this year.

Many local stores opened their doors to anxious customers Thursday night, but one store kept with tradition and opened at midnight: Best Buy.

“Packed” was an understatement for the Idaho Falls electronics store. Some eager shoppers were in line as early as Monday, but Best Buy employees said they're used to it.

"We're thankful for what our customers do for us all the time,” said general manager Jason Strawn. “Without our customers, we don't have anything. We appreciate their business and we appreciate them camping out and waiting here."

It takes months of planning to avoid chaos and a lot of manpower. Idaho Falls police patrolled the area, and it was all hands on deck for store employees.

“We really restrict traffic flow coming into the store,” said Strawn. “We have a single point of entry. We keep it very narrow, single file coming in. That's why we have extra security here, so that people can't rush the doors."

Another way to control the atmosphere is special tickets. Although people were running around everywhere, Best Buy employees said if you have a ticket, you are guaranteed a big ticket item, which means shoppers have to be patient, but it can be worth the wait.

"I got a (Blu-ray) player for $40 … and then some games for my son,” said Best Buy shopper Adriana Alonzo.

But Black Friday may be getting over shadowed by what is known as “Gray Thursday." A lot of big box stores like Walmart, Target and Sears opened their doors hours before midnight. but no matter where you shop, consumer experts said the number of people shopping will be up 10 percent from last year.

Still, if you weren't one of the early birds, you might still be in luck. Store managers said that often, a lot of merchandise that's on reserve goes unclaimed, so you might want to stop by the store and ask.