weather icon Overcast

Rain fails to keep Las Vegas shoppers away from Thanksgiving deals

Updated November 28, 2019 - 11:31 pm

By the time Target opened at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Venessa Huntington and her family were at the front of the line. They’d been waiting five hours.

“This is our family time,” she said, her face buried in her coat and scarf. “We had our dinner last night so we could do this.”

It was a tradition for the last 15 years, but this Thanksgiving had brought about a quarter of an inch to a half an inch of rainfall across the valley.

The family was one of hundreds in line Thursday for early Black Friday deals.

Cars competed for parking spaces in the full lot, while some of those waiting in line hid under umbrellas and others shivered and watched their breath dissipate into the dark sky as they waited in the cold.

The National Retail Federation estimated that more than 165 million people nationwide would shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Of those, nearly 40 million are expected to shop on Thanksgiving.

Outside Target, security worker Scott Stewart removed the barricades for the throng of holiday shoppers to enter the store, which would close at 2 a.m. and reopen at 7 on Friday.

“Single file. Let’s keep it calm and controlled, there’s plenty of stuff in there,” Stewart said. “Happy Thanksgiving. It’s going to be a good night.”

A family tradition

Huntington and her family were ready. She wheeled her wheelchair inside, knowing she was going to pick up an Xbox, Nintendo Switch and a giant Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen” for her grandchildren.

During the hours they waited, the family of five sipped on hot chocolate and huddled under a blue tarp as rain fell in the valley. For dinner, they shared McDonald’s food and made friends with the people in line.

Inside the store, three women from Mexico City had empty suitcases at the bottom of their shopping carts. They planned to fill all of them with Christmas presents for their kids and take them home to Mexico.

It’s a tradition they’ve kept for the last four years.

“The prices are very good here; our country is too expensive,” Eloisa Deschamps said.

People grabbed boxes holding TVs as if they were cereal boxes. Ken Hiranrak, his brother, Pat, and their friend Juan Vazquez hoisted a 60-inch television for $399 in their shopping cart. They had planned to get a 50-inch model, but the store had already run out within minutes.

“This is going in the living room,” Ken Hiranrak said. “I’m not buying a TV for another decade. Thank you, Black Friday.”

‘The advertisers get us’

Although the Meadows mall had opened at 6 p.m., JCPenney opened their doors at 2. Crew members were passing out coupons for the first 1,500 customers and ran out within the first half hour.

Sears, which is set to close next year, still participated in Black Friday, with up to 40 percent off. But at about 6:30, Sears and many other department stores in the mall were sparse with customers.

“I don’t know if the rain kept them away,” said one Macy’s worker, January.

It was still good enough for Chris Perez and his girlfriend, Ana Jimenez, to buy necessary household items for their new place.

“The advertisers get us,” Perez said. “We’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner after this.”

Many shoppers at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North off Grand Central Parkway also weren’t deterred by the rain. Most used their bags as umbrellas as they sprinted across the outdoor mall with their treasures in tow.

One group of shoppers from Canada purchased umbrellas to help as they dodged for discounts. They celebrate their Thanksgiving in May. Another woman, Poojah Jhamb and her 14-year-old daughter, Ahana, were visiting from Washington, D.C.

“We’re Indian, so we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving,” she said. “We came for the shopping. Maybe tomorrow we’ll have a little taste of turkey.”

Nearby, Matty De Los Reyes, a salesman at the Refresh Shoe kiosk, tried to stay dry during his 10-hour shift. The kiosk would stay open until 4 a.m.

“For us, this rain is not good; nobody wants to get their shoes cleaned,” he said as the kiosk roof dripped water into a bucket. “But it’s been busier than every other night, so that’s all that matters.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Preview Las Vegas 2020 - VIDEO
Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, hints at new branding slogan for Las Vegas, which will no longer be “What happens here, stays here.” The new slogan will be unveiled Jan. 26 during the Grammy Awards. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Boring Company could provide a solution to parking problems - VIDEO
LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill believes a potential solution for parking problems is the Boring Company’s $52.5 million people-mover -- a system that could eventually be expanded citywide connecting resorts and even McCarran International Airport to the Convention Center.
The Blackstone Group has partnered with MGM Resorts to acquire more properties - VIDEO
A few months after the Blackstone Group bought the Bellagio for more than $4 billion, it has partnered with MGM Resorts on a deal to acquire two other Las Vegas Strip properties. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Young Innovator Award winner explains ReDawn - VIDEO
Sofia Ongele explains ReDawn, which uses a Chatbot named Dawn to help users find resources after a sexual assault. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: MedWand ties for title of Last Gadget Standing - VIDEO
Dr. Samir Qamar of Las Vegas presents MedWand, a medical device that allows physicians to examine patients remotely anywhere in the world, at CES 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley /Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
CES Flying Taxis
Bell Nexus EX4 and Hyundai SA-1 flying taxi prototypes from CES 2020. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020 attendees rides in autonomous BMWs - VIDEO
BMW is pitching its reconfigured i3 Urban Suite, which holds a single passenger on a lounge-style seat, as the possible future of chauffeured rides at CES 2020. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Small appliances unveiled in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The small appliances on show at Sands Expo at CES 2020 in Las Vegas include a Keurig cocktail maker, autonomous cooking system, nitrogen coffee ampules and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: The scooter that will remind you of Wall-E - VIDEO
Segway unveiled the egg-shaped S-Pod Scooter at CES 2020 that’s a seated version of their original scooter that can reach 24mph. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Before the floor opens at Sands Expo on Day One - VIDEO
CES 2020 opened its doors at 10 a.m. Tuesday, welcoming more than 170,000 attendees to the annual electronics show. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: A suitcase that follows you, video games to heal you at Pepcom's Digital Experience - VIDEO
Get a glance at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! a showcase of products that will be at this week’s CES convention. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Impossible Foods Inc. Debuts Impossible Pork - VIDEO
At a pre-CES news conference at Mandalay Bay’s Kumi restaurant Monday night, a company representative announced that the participants were the “first people in the world” to try the new plant-based product, which it provided as samples in the form of Impossible Pork banh mi, char siu buns, dan dan noodles, pork katsu, pork shumai and sweet-sour-and-numbing meatballs.
CES 2020: Impossible Foods debuts Impossible Pork in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Before a packed press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods executives introduced Impossible Pork, its newest product. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: The Future of Transportation - VIDEO
Many automotive companies at CES unveil their plans for the future of transportation including safer driverless cars, safety features and a partnership between Uber and Hyundai. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: What you've missed so far - VIDEO
Catch up on the tech and events presented at CES 2020. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Samsung debuts 8k TV, MicroLED TV - VIDEO
2020 is set to be a major year for 8k screens, according to Samsung executives. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas resorts welcome dogs to stay
Las Vegas properties are welcoming dogs more than ever. MGM Resorts International announced a new dog-friendly program across all of its Las Vegas properties in December. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Musk 'hopeful' for 2020 completion of underground Las Vegas project - VIDEO
Elon Musk tweeted Friday night that The Boring Company’s underground tunnel project in Las Vegas will be “hopefully fully operational” within the next year. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
World Market Center celebrates topping-off ceremony - VIDEO
Las Vegas elected officials including Councilman Cedric Crear attend topping-off ceremony for the Expo at World Market Center in Las Vegas.
MSG Sphere in Las Vegas will be the largest spherical building in the world - VIDEO
The Madison Square Garden Sphere at The Venetian has now been under construction for about one year and is expected to be completed in 2021. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Aria still thriving after 10 years - VIDEO
The Aria opened on the heels of the Great Recession and managed to survive. It is now known for its art, environmental sustainability and poker. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino at the Golden Nugget on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fire damages 7 cars at Las Vegas airport parking garage - VIDEO
Firefighters on Saturday morning extinguished a car blaze that damaged six other vehicles in a parking garage at McCarran International Airport. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Changes Everything: Grandma - LVCVA ad
"Grandma" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
Vegas Changes Everything: Chaos - LVCVA ad
"Chaos" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
New allegations involved Steve, Elaine Wynn - VIDEO
The new allegations were presented Friday in a motion that included a 2018 affidavit, alleging former hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen tried to convince a friend to say Steve Wynn raped her and that she bore his son. The affidavit also included new allegations suggesting Elaine Wynn and Nielson orchestrated the assault scandal. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fitness chain Life Time acquires former Sullivan Square site
Fitness chain Life Time has acquired the former Sullivan Square site in Las Vegas for $14 million. The southwest valley property, across the street from Ikea, is little more than a giant hole in the ground. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm outlet mall changing its name - VIDEO
Chad Dillow, co-owner of Step Right Up, is building his attraction at Prizm Outlets, which recently changed it name from Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, in Primm. It will include 3D trick art, ax throwing, escape rooms and carnival-themed games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Phil Maloof on selling his Palms Place penthouse.
Phil Maloof sold his 59th-floor penthouse at Palms Place. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)