Black Friday habits changing for shoppers, retailers

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Thousands of valley residents braved the big crowds on Black Friday and hunted for the best bargains.  Earlier and earlier open times for retailers are starting to change the way people shop, at least locally.  The second wave of eager shoppers hit the Westfield Shopping Center on Friday, looking for the best sale possible.  Many of them walked out with bags and bags full of big deals.  "I've got a lot of shoes, a few shirts and a dress," said one shopper.  

Most of the shoppers who filed into the mall Friday morning chose to avoid giving in to the early open times from many retailers, keeping Thanksgiving and the shopping separate.  "We, as a country, need to go back to some of our values and save some of that time for family time," said Laura Alcorn, a shopper who lives in Bermuda Dunes.  

Despite a little bit of rain, a stream of cars flowed into the outlet stores in Cabazon after a quieter than usual night on Thursday.  "Numerous big box stores that started opening earlier on Thanksgiving day and I believe they ventured out to those places," said Caroline Thalasinos, the property manager for the "Cabazon Outlets," not be mistaken with the "Desert Hills Premium Outlets," next door.  Some shoppers said construction and traffic kept them away from Desert Hills.  "If you try and use one of those stores in that big circle, you have to make this big loop and it's really tough," said Matthew Dow.  "I think all those factors made this a lighter shopping day." 

With deals set to last through the weekend, Thalasinos expects the crowds to continue through Sunday. 

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