Her dedication and sense of purpose paid off, though she admitted that most of her purchases were for herself. At Meijer, for example, she bought a hair dryer for $9, as did her friend, Marie Kohler, with whom she was now browsing in Macy's home accents department in search of a good deal on a food processor. Hocevar picked up three poinsettias -- one gift and to for her own home -- at the home-improvement giant, because they were going for $1 each, 75% off.
And over at Kohl's, she found two $19.99 lap blankets, one black and white and the other gray plaid, for a gift -- plus house shoes and a pair of multicolored polka dot gloves for herself.
"I have a slipper fetish," she said, as Kohler nodded in agreement. "I also have a glove fetish."
Hocevar, who works in the health care industry, was excited about her many finds, though fueling her were a mere bagel, cup of coffee and a bite-sized candy bar one of the stores had passed out to eager shoppers. Her jacket had long ago been balled up and stuffed in a Macy's shopping bag.
"I do it every year," she explained. "I think it's exciting. It's being part of a crowd, even if I don't buy anything."
But for Kohler, a 57-year-old laid-off auto worker from Hazel Park, it was the exact opposite that got her into the stores early this morning.
"I'm out this year because I thought the economy would affect shopping and it has," she said, admitting that unlike her friend, Black Friday bargain-hunting isn't an annual tradition.
Kohler estimated the crowds were smaller this morning, so she was able to browse without working off a list and simply go where inspiration struck.
"I'm shopping for myself, because I've already done the Christmas shopping," she said, eyeing some kitchenware deals.
By Zlati Meyer, Free Press staff writer
Friends, families scope out deals together
8:46 a.m. |At 5:45 a.m., the line for cashiers at the Target at the Fairlane Green shopping center in Allen Park stretched across the entire front of the store and then along a side wall.
Instead of scouting the Target store shelves for a deal, Charlene Hamilton, 30, of Novi scouted the line.
She and her friend, Eryne Davis, 31, of Redford, were lured to the Target by its advertised deals on wide-screen televisions. But Hamilton came up empty-handed by the time she got to the TV aisle. So Hamilton eyed the lineup at the cashiers looking for a customer with TVs in their carts and a possible case of buyer's remorse.
"I was casing out the line to see if anybody didn't want a TV or was returning it," said Hamilton, "and I heard one guy say he didn't ..."
"And she pounced," added Davis, finishing her friend's sentence.
The Samsung 32-inch television, tagged at $328, will go in Hamilton's bedroom.
Hamilton was up all night. She was at a Walmart and Toys "R" Us before she picked up Davis, along with Davis' daughter, Courtney, 3, at 3 a.m.
It was Courtney's first Black Friday, and the kid was very alert when a reporter asked if mom had bought any presents for kids during the predawn shopping spree.
"T-O-Y-S," Davis spelled out. "P-R-I-N-C-E-S-S D-O-L-L-S."
After Target, they went to Meijer and Office Depot before standing in line for 30 minutes awaiting the opening of ABC Warehouse in Dearborn at 8 a.m. Davis snagged a Magnavox DVD player for $40 for her mom, and decided to head home by 8:30 a.m.
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