Vi­sions of tasty deals lure shop­pers from the ta­ble

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Pamela Wood

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.”

BAR­BARA HAD­DOCK TAY­LOR/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Susan Gil­lum holds the three gi­ant teddy bears that were the ob­ject of her Thanks­giv­ing Day trip to the Tar­get in Glen Burnie.

BAR­BARA HAD­DOCK TAY­LOR/BAL­TI­MORE SUN PHO­TOS

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