Black Friday: Kohl's in Northridge from 7:30 to 9 a.m.
In the handbag section, there were sweaters; in the corners of the clothing section, boots were hidden. Red sales tags proliferated.
Lynne Kline, 52, of Encino waited in a line that wove through the entire store with her daughter-in-law Shelley Van Pietersom, 26, of Simi Valley, who had been awake since 2:45 a.m.
Kline began shopping on Black Friday three decades ago but has never seen a line so long, she said.
“There’s some good deals, but I also like being out in the craziness,” she said, pushing a cart stuffed with clothing and a crock pot and looking for gifts for her grandchildren.
Antonio Buendia, 20 was oblivious to it all as he caught up on sleep in the store’s bed section. After napping for about 20 minutes on a blue-and-brown comforter while his family waited in line, the Sylmar student said he wouldn’t buy the bedding.
But “it was better than the floor,” he said.
The family had spent nearly $3,000 at several stores by 7 a.m., but Buendia said he was a little disappointed by Black Friday this year.
“Now we don’t go for the sales,” he said. “We go for tradition.”
Either way, Spence Sealey, 54, of Fresno had had enough. After waiting almost 45 minutes in a line twisting through handbags, bedding and clothing, he said this was his first time shopping on Black Friday and would probably be his last.
But the economy has been rough, and his wife Patty was laid off in June from her job as a supermarket supervisor. Their holiday budget has shrunk from $4,500 to $3,000 for their family, including 12 grandchildren.
The retired plumber has had to be smarter about his purchases -- with one exception.
“$12 pants for me? You can’t pass those up,” he said.
More than 200 people were waiting outside when the store opened at 4 a.m., said Lars Koerlber, Kohl’s district manager for the North Los Angeles region. Practical items, such as clothing or kitchenware, were the best sellers so far, he said.
Shoppers are also researching online before they visit the store, he said: “They know what kind of deals they can get this year and how they can stretch their dollar.”
-- Nicole Santa Cruz