Melissa Anderson, left, and Corey Shimwell and her baby Sady were out shopping in Red Deer on Wednesday to scope out merchandise that might be available for a better price on Black Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer-area bargain hunters are preparing for Black Friday deals

Some stores are already offering pre-sales

Central Alberta bargain hunters are scoping out merchandise in wait for deep price slashes on Black Friday.

Corey Shimwell has an eye on some toys to give her three children for Christmas. She said she’s hoping to get better deals on Friday for the Barbies and Calico Critters desired by her five-year-old daughter, as well as the Slime her six-year-old son likes, and developmental toys for her one-year-old daughter.

“I’ll be looking for some odds and ends and some leftover Christmas gifts,” said Shimwell, who’s from Ponoka, but will shop in Red Deer on Black Friday because of a greater variety of stores.

Like a growing number of consumers, she buys products online, as well as in person.

While the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is warning that “showrooming” (when customers tour stores to check out items that they later order online for a better deal) could hurt many smaller retailers this Christmas, Shimwell said she will buy from actual stores if the products are competitively priced.

Although there’s higher overhead in maintaining brick-and-mortar stores, Shimwell believes it’s up to retailers to be competitive — especially in this tighter provincial economy.

Sherry Melnychuk, a Sylvan Lake resident, agrees that consumers need a price incentive. She also purchases products online because “it’s an easier way to shop and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.”

Many Red Deer stores are offering pre-Black Friday savings of up to 40 per cent off in an attempt to lure customers.

But expectant parents Caitlin and Aman Chahal didn’t find any sales on baby items, such as electronic monitors, and were hoping to get better prices on Friday.

Marie, a Ponoka resident who declined to give her last name, was waiting for Friday to buy a vacuum that was advertised as going to be $150 off its regular price. She wants to give the vacuum to her son and his girlfriend as a house-warming present.

“I bought one for myself last year, and I like it so much, I though I’d buy one for them this year.”

Not everyone is enthused about Black Friday shopping.

Shelley Dawley preferred to see what was available on Wednesday, since she’ll be working at a fast-food outlet in Stettler on Friday, and expects to be dealing with more customers who don’t want to cook after doing so much shopping.

“I’m not a crowd person, anyway, ” said Dawley, who won’t miss the long Black Friday lineups and congestion.

And with rising prices and a shortage of doable work opportunities, Diane Ross said, “I don’t do Christmas any more,” because she can’t afford gifts on her limited disability income.

Alley McCleary, an engraver at a Bower Place mall booth, said some mall stores will be opening earlier than usual on Friday. How busy it will be is “hit or miss,” she said.

“If we are busy on Friday morning, we will be busy all day.”

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