Black Friday shoppers flood through the doors at a Target in Burbank looking… (Bethany Mollenkof / Los…)
A recent survey indicated that consumer confidence is at a five-year high, and Thursday night you could see signs of that optimism at the Target store at the Glendale Galleria, which was packed with customers in search of Black Friday deals.
While more than 750 people waited their turn to get in, customers talked about signs of improvement in their personal finances.
"This year is better than last year," said Natalio Perez, a 47-year-old Glendale resident.
This year, he said, he's buying an extra, larger TV to replace a smaller one. Business at his small construction company is up about 60%, he said.
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Perez showed up at the mall early with his wife, daughter, son, cousin and sister-in-law.
His eyes were set on a 50-inch TV that was going for $350, knocked down from about $600.
"I don't have a budget" for tonight, he said, as his daughter Nereyda, 26, giggled with her mom Maria in Spanish.
When a Target employee opened the store's metal gate at 9 p.m., allowing the first crush of people in, the crowd gave out a short yell, then streamed in peacefully but full of excitement.
"All the iPods and iPads, cameras are on the second floor," a worker yelled as shoppers streamed inside.
Robert Perez shopped among the hordes near the electronics department 20 minutes after the store opened. Inside his red shopping cart, the 26-year old plumber had two 32-inch flat-screen LCD TVs that he said are going for $147 each.
"You can miss out on that deal, man!" he said as shoppers buzzed around him.
Perez said he skipped out on a turkey dinner, instead opting for Thai food in Koreatown with his girlfriend, their two children and his girlfriend's mother.
"Honestly, I was more interested in the specials," the Mount Washington resident said. "If I stayed at home eating turkey, I would have told myself 'I could have gotten the TVs.'"
A widely followed survey by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan released this week found the final November index of consumer sentiment stood at 82.7, the highest for November since before the recession.
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