Visions of tasty deals lure shoppers from the table
For Jason and Zachary Brandenburg, shopping on Thanksgiving Day was about buying a big-screen TV at a great price.
But on this holiday when families are supposed to gather — and many turn their noses up at those who ditch dinner for discounts — the father and son found something else in their shopping adventure. Spending hour after hour on the sidewalk outside a Best Buy in Glen Burnie, they bonded, talking about football and video games and a little bit of everything.
Jason, a 39-year-old electrician from Glen Burnie, initially had to bribe his son with a new video game to convince him to join the quest for a 55-inch Samsung to replace the “slowly dying” family TV. With that enticement, Zachary agreed to tag along.
“I had a feeling spending time with him would be fun,” said Jason.
“And it was, I have to admit,” said Zachary, a 15-year-old student at Glen Burnie High School.
The Brandenburgs are among millions of Americans who made time for shopping amid the turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving. They hoped that wife Nicole and the other three boys wouldn’t mind — and would keep some leftovers warm for them.
“I said, ‘Please leave us plenty of extra for us to eat,’ ” Jason said.
After buying the TV, they planned to head straight home.
In recent years, Thanksgiving Day shopping at big-box stores and shopping malls has become a new tradition, as the winter holiday shopping season keeps creeping earlier.
It kicked off a stream of themed shopping days for Americans, to be followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
About 59 percent of Americans — 137.4 million people — planned to shop at some point between Thursday and Sunday, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That represents a slight uptick from last year.
Of those planning to shop this holiday weekend, more than one-fifth planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day, according to the survey. Black Friday, which for years kicked off holiday shopping, is still ex-
pected to be the busiest day of the weekend, with nearly three-quarters of shoppers planning to hit the stores that day.
Some shoppers who stood in line Thursday planned to be back at it again today, in search of even more deals.
The Hicks family from Lansdowne stood in line at the Target in Glen Burnie on Thursday afternoon. They also planned stops at Wal-Mart, Marley Station mall and at “anything that’s open,” said Jamie Hicks, 36, who was joined by her daughter Mackenzie, an 18-year-old Salisbury University student; and her son Mason, a 16-year-old student at Western Tech.
Today’s game plan was to be determined. Last year, they got up at 5 a.m. to go to Arundel Mills mall.
“We do it every year,” said Jamie, who works for Aramark. “We do it to get out of the house, there’s nothing else to do.”
By the end of the weekend, Jamie Hicks said she hoped to have a “good chunk” of her Christmas shopping done. While they would snap up any Hatchimals toys if they see them, the top priority for Thursday was Stinky the Garbage Truck, a joke-telling vehicle that gobbles up Matchbox cars that a 4-year-old nephew is crazy about.
Other families opted to divide and conquer. While Renee Burton of Glen Burnie was at Toys R Us, her grandson Dom Duncan, 14, was making friends in line at Best Buy. Both stores opened at 5 p.m.
Dom was getting a 49-inch Toshiba TV that was discounted from $450 to $200. He didn’t mind standing in line for a few hours, especially since the TV was destined to display video games in his bedroom.
The family had turkey from the nearby Bob Evans restaurant on Thursday and planned a full family dinner Sunday, Burton said.
And Burton was able to snag some Hatchimals, which are egg-shaped toys that break open to reveal a plush animal inside. Hatchimals are this year’s hot toy that no A long line of customers start to begin their search for discount treasures at the Best Buy in Glen Burnie after its 5 p.m. opening. one can seem to find.
“We ended up having a great day,” said Burton.
Andrea Bunch and her five nieces spread out to different stores to get deals. They’d celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner Wednesday. On Thursday, she was at Best Buy, waiting for the same 49-inch Toshiba TV as many others.
“We still got together, and now we’re out shopping,” said Bunch, who was visiting her family in Brooklyn Park from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Deeply discounted TVs were the hot item for many, but as shoppers streamed through Target, a lot of them had both giant TV boxes and giant teddy bears in their carts.
The teddy bears — larger than a small child — were on sale for just $10.
That deal was good enough to lure 38-year-old Susan Gillum away from her family for a quick trip to Target.
“I usually don’t do Thanksgiving shop- Zachary, left, and Jason Brandenburg had their sights set on a TV from Best Buy. ping,” Gillum said, arms overflowing with the giant plush bears.
She’d seen the deal on Facebook and couldn’t resist picking up three: for her two daughters and for her best friend’s daughter .
Next on her agenda: “Go back to family now.”
Retailers weren’t the only ones trying to make money on Thanksgiving. A food truck from Shareef’s Grill was parked outside the Glen Burnie Target, and employees Walter de Julio and DeShawn T. Monroe hoped to sell fresh-grilled wraps to hungry customers in line.
They didn’t sell many. In fact, they sold more drinks than food. But Monroe said that was OK — at least it was a marketing opportunity, and he handed out brochures to everyone.
As for having to work on the holiday, Monroe said: “I didn’t mind. My wife minded.”
But the day would be short, just about three hours in the Target parking lot. Then Monroe had plans: “I’ll go back home to eat and be with my family,” he said. “Then I’m going to go shopping later.” patient’s oncologist for specific instructions. If needed, they schedule appointments in the urgent care center, which is embedded in the regular treatment areas.
Froehlich is considering expanding night hours at the Texas center, which already is open on weekends. He’s also considering a web portal that would help patients who live hundreds of miles away and can’t readily access the center.
He estimates up to 15 percent of cancer patients need urgent care at least once, sometimes more often, and that translates into two to five patients a day.
“We decided to do this to provide better care,” he said. “It results in lower costs, but really it’s about better care, keeping patients at home and not in the hospitals. No one wants to be in the hospital.”
Dean said his wife always wanted to be at home in her own bed in Columbia. Now serving on the Hopkins Patient and Caregiver Advisory Council, Dean crunched patient data to suggest how many beds the Hopkins center would need and how it should be staffed.
His wife died before the Hopkins urgent care center opened. But his daughter Samara, who also was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, has visited the center.
Dean called it comforting just to know the center is there, and he looks forward to it adding weekend hours. He’d also like to see community hospitals pool resources to support a center if they can’t manage one on their own.
“Patients and caregivers really become the experts on what it’s like to live in a system,” he said. “I have great regard for the folks at Hopkins, but they don’t have the eyes that I have. When you’re in the system you can see the gaps. And now a big gap is being filled.”
Susan Gillum holds the three giant teddy bears that were the object of her Thanksgiving Day trip to the Target in Glen Burnie.