Not the busiest Black Friday: Crowds small in Spokane this year, some shoppers say

<p><p>Black Friday isn’t what it used to be.</p></p><p><p>At least that was the consensus among shoppers in Spokane on Friday. Many said they think more and more people are staying in and shopping online.</p></p><p><p>“It’s extremely slow, zero traffic out here,” Brandon Geary said while putting a Christmas tree into the trunk of his car in The General Store parking lot. “It’s kinda weird for me, but that’s what the internet does.”</p></p><p><p>Lines of eager shoppers still stood outside the entrances of some stores Friday morning, but the crowds were fairly tame before sunrise. Even at 7:30 a.m., most retailers’ parking lots were far from full. At the South Hill Target, cawing crows and squawking gulls were making more noise than cars.</p></p><p><p>Tim and Emily Rubertt aren’t Black Friday regulars, but they were still surprised by the small crowds. They bought a rug and Christmas decorations at Fred Meyer.</p></p><p><p>“We had nothing better to do,” Tim Rubertt said with a grin, adding that he and his wife were heading straight home.</p></p><p><p>The General Store was busier than many of the big chains.</p></p><p><p>Geary said he doesn’t typically go shopping on Black Friday, but he was tired of having plastic trees for Christmas.</p></p><p><p>“I like real Christmas trees,” he said, adding that he enjoys having the Christmas-tree scent fill up his house.</p></p><p><p>“We have too many kids, they smell,” Geary said with a chuckle.</p></p><p><p>The General Store has an advantage at Christmas time: It’s a toy mecca, with an entire upstairs set aside for a vast assortment, including board games and stuffed rainbow narwhals.</p></p><p><p>“Biggest toy department in town,” General Manager Rob Wilson said.</p></p><p><p>Wilson said people were waiting outside The General Store at 6 a.m., even though the store didn’t open until 8 a.m.</p></p><p><p>“So far it’s going really well,” he said. “It’s a little early to tell. It’s an increase over what we saw last year for sure.”</p></p><p><p>Candy Fetsch was at The General Store to buy toys for her grandkids and the girls on the basketball team she coaches. She carried a children’s book, tiny bouncy balls and a game called “Knuckle Heads” in her hands.</p></p><p><p>Todd Trautman was looking for presents for his kids.</p></p><p><p>“I love this store,” he said, while perusing some toy guns. “How many places have a blowgun?”</p></p>