MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 29, 2013

First legal Black Friday held in state in 70 years


Associated Press

— TULSA — Though Oklahoma shoppers could revel in their first legal Black Friday in 70 years, shoppers seemed to be less frenzied than expected because they had already snapped up deals Thursday night.

This year marked the first time since 1941 that shoppers could experience a true Black Friday. Low-price retail events with deeply discounted items had been illegal under the Unfair Sales Act, which required retailers to sell products for at least 6 percent more than they paid for it.

The Legislature changed the law during the 2013 session, allowing retailers like Wal-Mart to offer additional discounts to consumers, but larger crowds weren’t noticeable on Friday.

“Today is slow motion,” said Suhail Zaidi, owner of Bags and Bangles, a booth selling gold and silver jewelry at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa.

Like several big-box retailers, Woodland Hills opened on Thanksgiving. The mall opened its doors at 8 p.m. Thursday and won’t close until 10 p.m. Friday.

“We opened up too early,” he said. “We ruined the holiday.”

Mall policy required that he open on Thanksgiving, he said. The mall and his booth had been somewhat busy Thursday evening but it died down by 3 a.m., he said.

Some say the crazy hours Black Friday entails is a reason why they enjoy the shopping extravaganza.

“I love Black Friday and all the rush,” said Toni Morse, 67, who was perusing the DVD selection at Best Buy by 7 a.m. Friday. Morse was with her two adult children and looking for items for her five grandchildren, ages 5 to 13. The must-have item, she said, was an iPad.

Morse noted that she didn’t see the same type of rush Thursday evening or Friday morning that she had on past Black Fridays. She thinks that is because stores were all opening at different times.

Amanda Brownell tried her hand at Black Friday shopping for the first time, going alone because most of her family is sick and stayed at her home. The 40-year-old library and media specialist bought a $20 kitchen set for her 2-year-old daughter from Toys ‘R’ Us. She acknowledged that she wasn’t totally sure how much cheaper it was than the original price, but, like many other shoppers Friday, she bought it because it sounded like a good deal.

For others, it wasn’t the discounts — real or perceived — but the people that attracted them to Black Friday.

Jim Miller, 63, sat at the food court in Woodland Hills thinking of ideas of what to buy college-age kids. His son is a youth pastor and he was hoping to buy some items for his students.

But more than that, he was hoping to be around people. The purchasing agent lost his wife a year and a half ago to breast cancer.

“I’m alone. I like sometimes to be with crowds,” he said.