Retailers prepare for Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping frenzy

Retailers all around the state have been planning for this weekend for months.

At Walmart, mountains of toys are already out behind a protective layer of shrink wrap.

Store manager Debbie Shima says she and her employees have been working on a plan for Black Friday for months.

“We actually start planning for this event months ahead of time, so we strategically place merchandise,” Shima said. “Customer safety and having a pleasant shopping experience through the crowd is our most important aspect of this so it takes a lot of time to plan for it.”

Walmart’s Black Friday sale starts at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day statewide, and you can expect some big crowds. Shoppers who line up early will get tickets or wristbands so they have first choice of all their big-ticket items.

Electronics are a major draw, like 50-inch televisions priced at $269.

“Usually we are filled to the gills and that’s what we want,” Shima said. “We have a lot of great offerings this year. Electronics, of course a lot of toys for our children, also small appliances, a whole gambit of merchandise available for them.”

Best Buy has already started some of its holiday specials, and even though there were no lines at either location, associate Angela Skrivanek says one will likely form Wednesday.

“We do anticipate having a line. Some people do it as a ritual every Thanksgiving. That’s what they do with their family,” Skrivanek said.

Retailers say because of the lines, it’s important to show up early if you’re looking for big-ticket items like televisions or other electronics.

Shima says you can go online ahead of time to see what deals you want to go after.

“I would encourage everyone to go to the Walmart app and they can put in their zip code for the store they are visiting and they can go to the map so they can kind of plan where they want to be,” Shima said.

Many stores at Ala Moana Center will also be opening their doors to shoppers on Thursday.

Some shoppers were out Tuesday trying to stay ahead of the crowds.

Claire Ellingford says she prefers to stay home on Black Friday. “I think I like watching it on television. That’s as far as it goes because it’s just full of people. It’s just insanely crazy. I just can’t imagine it,” Ellingford said.

Brandon Lacuesta says once was enough after his Black Friday experience last year. “It’s really up to people that decide to go, but if they don’t mind all the craziness, I say go for it if they want to get all the good deals,” Lacuesta said.

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