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Midnight shoppers out in force at Citadel, the Oaks, Eagle Rock

November 29, 2013|By Paresh Dave, Soumya Karlamangla and James Barragan
  • Hundreds of shoppers wait for Urban Outfitters to open at midnight at the Oaks shopping mall in Thousand Oaks.
Hundreds of shoppers wait for Urban Outfitters to open at midnight at the… (Soumya Karlamangla / Los…)

Who needs sleep when there are deals to be had?

At Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles, which opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the parking area for the shopping center became so full that some shoppers were being directed to park a 10-minute walk away.

At the mall, store employees were standing outside their shops yelling out offers to shoppers walking by, and some stores were trying to control crowds by letting in only a few customers at a time.

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Christopher Devora, 22, who works for a drywall company, was waiting for his family outside the Coach for Men store. A first-time Black Friday shopper, he had just bought clothes for his 2-month-old son at Aeropostale at nearly 70% off and marveled at how aggressive shoppers were being.

"If you put something down for a second, someone will come and grab it," Devora said. He said that although he was seeing good deals, he planned to head home soon -- he had to be at work at 4:30 a.m. Friday.

Over at the Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, decorated with garlands and massive Christmas wreaths tethered to the ceiling, the largest crowd was for the midnight opening of Urban Outfitters.

Five minutes before the store opened, nearly 300 people -- mainly teenagers -- were waiting outside the trendy retailer. The line snaked around the entire mall, and an additional 100 people leaned against the railing on the second floor to watch the scene from above.

Shortly before the doors opened, shoppers pulled out their smartphones to take photos and videos, and a chant of "We will rock you" broke out.

At midnight, an employee inside Urban Outfitters opened the grate in front of the doors, and the first people in line ran in one by one. The crowd booed. People stood around to see if anyone would get trampled, but slowly filtered out when no one did.

Jessie Daniels, 16, of Agoura Hills said she had been waiting for Urban Outfitters to open since 9 p.m. Even before that, she and her friend Jillian Tragerman, 15, had already shopped at Abercrombie and Fitch, Pacsun and Foreign Exchange, which opened earlier in the evening.

Daniels said that once she gets her shopping done at Urban Outfitters, which opened at midnight, the duo planned to head to the Westfield Topanga mall around 1 a.m.

Gino Spinelli, 49, waited with 20 other people in line at the GameStop around 10:30 p.m. He said he was looking for a PlayStation 4 and heard that the GameStop had 10 units -- good news because his 13-year-old son Nico was the ninth person in line.

Spinelli, who lives in Simi Valley, said he went to two Wal-Marts and a Target on Thursday looking for the gaming system, but they were sold out. The GameStop at the Oaks was his last resort, and he'd been waiting since about 9 p.m.

He said at first he wasn't sure he wanted a PS4, but now was set on buying the console after chasing it all day.

"My son talked me into it, really," he said. "If they don't have it, I'm going to be pissed."

Some shoppers felt conflicted about Black Friday shopping increasingly creeping into Thanksgiving.

"First, I was not happy because the opening is messing up the workers' Thanksgiving and ours too," said Ana Meijia, a nurse assistant from Highland Park who was shopping at the Macy's in Eagle Rock on Thursday night. "But then I thought I should come; otherwise everyone else is going to take the good things. I'm 50-50."

Meijia, 35, said she was looking for winter clothing and shoes for herself and her two children. This is her sixth year shopping on Black Friday, and she said she planned to go to the Camarillo Outlets on Friday.


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Times staff writer Andrea Chang contributed to this report.

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