Black Friday Blog: Long lines late Thursday, crowds dwindle in the morning

CLEVELAND - If you are out and about this Black Friday, let us know about the crowds and traffic where you are by posting them in the comments section below.

11:48 a.m.: Shoppers in Parma report the power is out at the Target store near the Parmatown Mall. The store is still open, but there is minimal lighting.

9:12 a.m.: Here's what a few of our viewers are saying about Black Friday:

-"Got everything I wanted at Walmart last night then shopped online for a couple of things at Toys R Us. Love my free shop runner for free shipping!"

-" I went to Walmart last night, line was wrapped around to the back of the store on the outside!! I did purchase video games for $28!! Well worth it, I was back home by 11:30 pm!"

-" Walmart was completely crazy last night and best buy was just long lines but they had plenty of stock"

-" Kohls… ridiculous!!! And some of their Black Friday prices were higher than their everyday prices and it said ‘early bird sale'...won't go next year..."

8:17 a.m.: Looking to do a little shopping in downtown Cleveland? Parking is free today at downtown meters to encourage people to pick up gifts at places like Quicken Loans Arena, Dredgers Union and the House of Blues.

"This move gives us the opportunity to compete with free parking available at malls in the suburbs on Black Friday," Councilman Zack Reed said. "It will help draw holiday shoppers who may be looking to shop at Tower City Center, E. 4th Street or other locations in downtown."

8:08 a.m.: Things were quiet in Beachwood for most of the morning, but really picked up at 8 a.m. According to a Consumer Reports survey, one in four Americans planned to hit the stores this Black Friday. Are you one of them? Tell us in the comments section below.

7:39 a.m.: While another round of Black Friday shoppers head out to the stores, those who started early are now ready to eat. Watch for long waits at area restaurants near malls and shopping centers.

6:57 a.m.: Consumer Advocate Jenn Strathman says one in four people still have a giftcard in their wallet from last Christmas. This may be because most people end up spending more than the face-value of the card, so they have to use money out of their own pocket for a gift.

6:53 a.m.: It appears that a lot of the Black Friday shoppers are heading to bed. The Best Buy in Steelyard Commons has quieted down.

6:11 a.m.: There parking lot at Great Northern Mall is pretty full this morning, but there is little foot traffic. It seems like most people have went in the stores to stay.

5:45 a.m.: On Your Side Consumer Advocate Jenn Strathman has been out in Steelyard Commons most of the morning. Things were pretty calm this morning, but expect the rush to start back up. Lots of retailers, like Walmart, which started sales at 10 p.m. last night, have staggered the times of their sales. Since Walmart stores were open on Thanksgiving Day, there was no need to wait outside.

4:22 a.m.: Black Friday is full of deals, but some thieves are ready to prey on distracted shoppers. Police call these robberies "crimes of opportunity." Luis Gonzalez is the chapter leader of the Guardian Angels Cleveland, a local affiliate of the National Citizen Crime Fighting Patrol, founded in 1979. The angels, who don't carry weapons, do make their presence known by donning their red berets and jackets at city events and Black Friday gatherings.

1:31 a.m.: One of the busiest places overnight was Best Buy, which isn't a surprise considering how popular electronics are expected to be this holiday season.

12:12 a.m.: The rush was one when they opened the doors at midnight at the Best Buy in Steelyard Commons. People grabbed multiple TVs, DVDs and more. Thirty-two-inch TVs were going for $200 seemed to be the talk of the night. The Xbox bundle package was nearly half off.

11:23 p.m.: The first person in line at the Best Buy in Steelyard Commons showed up on Monday. On Tuesday, she was given a ticket to hold her spot in line and told to come back Thursday night.

8:47 p.m.: The line at the Toys ‘R' Us in North Olmsted wrapped around the building in anticipation of the store's 9 p.m. opening. That's one hour earlier than last year. Our crews considered the crowd "controlled chaos."

"We had to leave our family a little earlier than we wanted to, but it's fun. We love it," said one eager shopper.

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