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Hamden Walmart's Black Friday Started Thanksgiving Night

The big crowds showed up Thursday night when Walmart kicked off the Christmas gift-buying season with big sales.

 

By 7:45 p.m. Thursday night, the Hamden Mart parking lot was almost full, despite the fact that only one store -- Walmart -- was open.

There were no lines -- that's because Walmart opened its doors long before the 8 p.m. Black Friday sales began, thus avoiding the problems in past years in other areas of overrambunctious shoppers trampling others trying to get in the doors as soon as they opened.

But there was no lack of drama inside the store as tempers flared as shoppers attacked the displays of specials set up in the aisles, all with signs saying that they weren't available until 8 p.m.

Several Hamden police officers backed up the fleet of store security on call to defuse tempers that flared up several times in the first hour of the sale.

"It's kinda crazy," said Cheryl Temkrans of New Haven, who arrived shortly before 8 p.m. to take advantage of the sales, "but it's also fun. Some people get out of hand, but for the most part, everyone behaves and has a good time."

Marissa Jenkins wasn't happy, though, after a woman literally ran her 6-year-old son over with a carriage trying to get through the crowd to reach a store special.

"That woman is sick to push through a child like that," Jenkins said, clearly angry but holding it back. Her son, at first crying, recovered quickly when a toy display caught his eye.

One frustration for shoppers was a lack of carriages. The store apparently held back on the number of available carriages so shoppers were forced to follow those leaving the store and confiscate theirs when finished with them.

"There's a definite lack of carriages, and that's not cool," said Martin DeResece. "Why make it harder to shop when we're here to spend money?

Some of the more popular sales included the iPad 2 for $399 and an HP laptop for $299. But less technologically advanced items also proved popular as one woman could be seen balancing four sets of the game Candyland as she made her way to the checkout lanes.

By 8:30 p.m. -- a half-hour after the big 8 p.m. sale started -- the checkout lines were packed with people pushing carts piled high with boxes, some higher than the people pushing them.

"It's like a game -- getting everything you want in one trip, and getting it all to fit in one cart," said LaTisha Saunders, herself balancing an overfull cart. "And that's if you can get a cart -- a big if."

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