In the early evening, in the thick of Thanksgiving dinnertime, another round of retailers opened their doors to deal-hunting shoppers.
Toys R Us began welcoming customers at 5 p.m. At the store in Bell Gardens, Cathleen Leal, 35, had been waiting outside for 12 hours, making her the first person in line.
For six of the last seven years, the Bell resident has been an avid holiday shopper. This year, her husband joined in. The pair’s Thanksgiving dinner consists of a Starbucks run and Chinese food.
“I love to do this, I live for this,” Leal said. “I get an adrenaline rush out of this and my family understands because they love their gifts.”
Shopping for a slew of children, she was keeping an eye out for educational toys, $10-a-box diapers and more. She’s preparing to spend $1,200 – about the same amount as last year – and is using cash to avoid maxing out her credit cards.
Next up for Leal – a local Target to try for a discounted television and then Las Vegas-area outlets to shop for the “big kids.”
Farther north, at a Best Buy in Atwater Village, vendors were selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs to a line that wrapped around three-quarters of the building. Employees handed out documents guaranteeing items such as the Galaxy S4 smartphone and the iPad while shoppers watched football on their mobile gadgets.
Echo Park resident Jeremy Eng, 28, got in line at 4:30 p.m. but at 5:30 p.m., with half an hour to go before Best Buy opened, he was thinking about abandoning his mission out of boredom.
The Black Friday newbie had come to check out the hype about holiday shopping, leaving his family waiting for him to return home to Montrose before digging into the turkey. The architectural engineer was interested in picking up a laptop as a gift for his father and any affordable gadget for himself.
“The economy is a little better,” Eng said. “I think it’s time to treat myself to something.”
By 6:45 p.m., Best Buy and the Toys R Us next door had each let in about 1,000 shoppers in small batches.
Arnulfo Guox of Echo Park approached the Best Buy cash register leaning on a $200 Asus laptop for his 5th grade daughter. It will be the family’s first computer.
“All the kids have a computer now – I think this is very necessary for her education,” Guox said. “This is not a Christmas gift. This is something she needs.”