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Black Friday: Wal-Mart in Fontana at 7 a.m.

November 27, 2009 | 12:57 pm

After working 15 Black Fridays, this year left Cecilia Gutierrez overwhelmed.

“I’ve never seen it so crowded,” said the sales associate while working at Wal-Mart in Fontana.

At 7 a.m., a thousand people had streamed through, most paying with cash, she said.

The store hired about 40 contract security guards to manage the flow.

“It was hectic,” said Tim Holmes, one of the guards. “A bunch of people got mad.”

Sophia Barrientos, 30, of Fontana was a bit peeved. Assuming that the recession would thin the shopping ranks, she showed up at the store later than normal and found that the $248 Emerson 32-inch flat-screen TV she was hoping for was sold out.

So she picked up a $368 Vizio 32-inch instead.

“I thought it would be less because of the economy, but it wasn’t,” she said. “This is all I came for. I wanted a sale price, but they were sold out.”

Last year, Beatrice Luna’s Black Friday budget was $1,500. This year, it’s $300, and most of it will go to presents for other people, she said.

“We’re on a tight budget, so we’re not shopping for ourselves,” said Luna, 31, of Fontana.

Her husband, Ernesto Luna, 32, who works in construction, said caution is key.

“Work is slow, and we were told ahead of time it was going to get worse,” he said.

-- Baxter Holmes
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