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Black Friday: The Grove at 10 a.m.

November 27, 2009 |  2:39 pm

Around 10 a.m., the Grove was so empty that the ambient music seemed louder than normal. Several people were ringing bells, hoping for donations, but having little luck. Shoppers strolled leisurely around, or sat brunching, but very few had bags.

“I was expecting it would be way crazier,” said Carrier Krischer, 31, a website designer for an ad agency. “But we found a parking spot right away.” Krischer, who is visiting from Chicago for the weekend, said she was just picking up a pair of shoes that she had ordered online from Nordstrom.

Friends and recent Fairfax High School graduates Brenda Guzman and Sunny Gobezye, both 19, had woken up at 5 a.m. to brave the crowds at the Beverly Center. After hitting two stores, they switched gears for the Grove, fully prepared to shove their way through more throngs. Instead, they peacefully perused Victoria’s Secret.

“I was expecting more,” Guzman said. “You hear ‘sales’ and you think ‘Omigod, pushing people.’ But it’s just a normal shopping day. Lou and Perry Pecora, 40, of Culver City, did their Christmas shopping last month and were visiting the shopping center’s Santa display with their two young children.

The pair, who both work in visual effects in the film industry, scoffed at Black Friday shopping.

“Who needs a $3 toaster and a $50 hi-def TV?” Lou said. “Who wants to stand in line with 80,000 smelly people? It’s just not worth it.”

-- Amina Khan