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The Boston Globe

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Black Friday shoppers out in force

After a marathon of shopping that started at midnight, Gloucester resident Erika Watson raced to her car in the Walmart parking lot in Danvers around 7:30 a.m.

The goal: to stow her purchases and make it to work on time.

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The back of the 43-year-old’s car as filled with bags of toys and small appliances, as well as an electric fireplace that Watson scored for $150 at Ocean State Job Lot. She also snagged two laptops for $250 each at Staples.

This was Watson’s first Black Friday shopping expedition, but after the bargains she found she said she’s sure to be back next year — with one slight change in strategy.

“Next year,” she said, “I am going to take the day off.”

SARAH SHEMKUS

The bright red Polar Slider sled was just inches shorter than the 9-year-old girl proudly carrying it out L.L. Bean’s door.

Cathy Xu, 9, and her mother, Susan Xu, bought a red Polar Slider sled at the L.L. Bean store in Dedham.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Cathy Xu, 9, and her mother, Susan Xu, bought a red Polar Slider sled at the L.L. Bean store in Dedham.

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Mother Susan Xu, a 40-year-old engineer from Westwood who was shopping with her family at Legacy Place in Dedham, smiled at the somewhat impulsive $59 purchase.

“She saw it, she liked it, we buy it,” Xu said.

Meanwhile, in the store’s shoe section, Dedham resident Marie Muniz and her mother, Linda, of Brooklyn, took a break from holiday shopping to try on some boots for themselves.

Marie said she began shopping two weeks ago, both online and in stores, and has about half her gifts already purchased.

“I got my mom’s present a week ago for half price,” Marie Muniz said with a smile and a quick look at her mom, “but we can’t talk about that.”

ERIN AILWORTH

Vineyard Vines. Victoria’s Secret. Jack Wills. Zara. Bath & Body Works. After just 2 1/2 hours, 22-year-old Northeastern University student Julie Dumas had hit them all and was off to J. Crew.

“I’m really into going out on Black Friday,” said Dumas, who started looking up sales online a week ago. “I hate Thanksgiving, so [Black Friday] is something I can do that I like.”

She hit the stores alone, her shopping strategy roughly planned out but not adverse to an impulse buy or two -- if the deal was good enough.

“I think it’s better to do it alone. With other people, you can get into arguments about where to find the best deals, and what stores to go to,” she said, “I can just go in, get my stuff, and move on.”

EMILY OVERHOLT

The South Shore Plaza in Braintree, opened for Black Friday shopping at 12:30 a.m. and by 9 a.m., many in the bustling crowd had been at it for hours. Some had started to fade. One man snored noisily from a lounge area near the guest services desk. A woman blinked sleepily as she sat chatting on a cell phone.

South Shore Plaza’s director of marketing Vicki Bartkiewicz described lines wrapping around Target. The Pink, a women’s lounge wear store offering door buster deals on fleece sweaters and pants, had a line until 4:30 a.m.

Despite earlier sales, and online bargains, some shoppers just have come the mall, Bartkiewicz said. “For a lot of people,” she said, “Black Friday is a social event kicking off the holidays.”

ERIN AILWORTH

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