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Originally published November 23, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Page modified November 23, 2012 at 2:16 PM

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Early morning shoppers get caught up in craziness

The hunt for bargains begins early for dedicated shoppers.

Seattle Times business reporter

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During the post-Thanksgiving shop-fest known as Black Friday, there are people like Bothell mom Farrell Hogenauer, who enjoys being part of the action.

“I dragged her out,” Hogenauer said of her friend Mary Khouzam, who accompanied her to a Toys R Us store in Lynnwood at 5 a.m. “I think it’s fun.”

And then there are those like Amol Shanbhag, 30, of Bellevue, who began hunting for bargains at 8 p.m. Thursday. Nine hours later, he could be found browsing the electronics aisle at a local Fred Meyer store.

“This is my sixth store,” he said, holding a Coby digital photo frame, marked down from $50 to $20. “I’m still fresh, though. I’ve probably had too much coffee. Maybe I’ll go to Radio Shack next.”

Nicole Stel, 31, of Vancouver, B.C., rested in her car outside a Lynnwood Radio Shack at 6 a.m., while her sister and cousin shopped inside. They drove down from Canada on Thursday and had been shopping for 10 hours straight.

“This probably is our last stop for the morning,” Stel said.

At a Best Buy store nearby, hundreds of bargain hunters had lined up outside six hours earlier for the midnight opening. The top seller was a 40-inch Toshiba TV for $179, down from $419.

“All the door busters were sold within an hour,” said Best Buy employee Cale Robertson. “It’s craziness.”

Some 80.5 million are expected to shop on Black Friday, so-called because that’s when many retailers reach profitability for the year.

Although major retailers such as Kmart, Sears, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart opened Thanksgiving evening, other big box retailers swung open their doors at midnight. The major shopping malls opened five hours later.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

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