PEABODY — Unlike scenes of Black Friday shoppers forming lines days in advance elsewhere in the country, Lisa Martiniello of Peabody, her daughter Hayley and friend Robert LeBlanc didn’t have to camp out for a week to be the first in line at the Toys “R” Us by the Northshore Mall yesterday.
Martiniello and crew made it over to the mall at 4:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and began an eight-hour siege in the cold to get into the store first. Those in line appeared well-behaved and in the mood for a bargain.
“When I came, I thought (the line) would be a lot longer,” said Martiniello. “I’m surprised it built so late,” she added about the line, which grew rapidly as the store approached its 1 a.m. opening.
A limited number of free gift bags full of toys brought Martiniello to the store. As the line built around midnight, it stretched hundreds of feet in front of the building toward the Shaw’s Supermarket next door. After midnight, employees began handing out SpongeBob SquarePants-themed gift bags. At one point, the cart containing the gift bags tipped over, and shoppers calmly helped the employee put them back on cart.
Martiniello said she would have liked it if the toy store opened Thanksgiving evening to give her a chance to shop, as stores were doing across the country.
“I think they should have put it at 8 o’clock like the TV said, the paper said, the emails,” Martiniello said. “Everything said that the store opened at 8. Then there was another flier that said it opened at 12. It was really false advertisement at both ends,” Martiniello said. The Bay State’s Colonial-era blue laws prevent work on certain holidays such as Thanksgiving and kept stores from opening on the holiday.