Some people call it a tradition.
Others just want to save a few dollars.
Chloe Jackson simply didn’t have anything else going on. Sure, it was Thanksgiving, but with all of her family gathering in Minnesota this year, there wasn’t much else for her to do. Opportunities to eat dinner with friends came in, but she politely declined.
It just isn’t the same she said, without having her own family to celebrate with.
So she compensated – she went and spent money. Jackson lined up outside of Wal-Mart early Thursday morning and waited to see if she’d be lucky enough to end with one of the rock-bottom electronic items that have made the day after Thanksgiving the biggest holiday shopping day of the year.
“I’ve never done it before, so I don’t really quite know what to expect,” Jackson said. “My sister would do this with me if she was here right now, and I’m sure we could come up with some sort of a plan. But right now it’s all about the experience.
“So far the people are friendly and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the experience. Will I do it again? Hopefully I’m not in this position.”
But things took a dark turn nationwide as people – some camped out for days – packed into store to get massive discounts on everything from television sets to computers.
Within hours of Wal-Mart stores opening Thursday night, the twitter hash tag “Walmartfights” was trending nationwide as people videotaped and took pictures of violent altercations between shoppers that were competing for a number of high-demand gifts this season, like the recently released Xbox One.
In Chicago, a man attempting to shoplift from a Kohl’s department store sprinted to his car and trapped the arm of a police officer in the door as he drove away. Officers fired into the vehicle to get the man to stop. Police in Virginia responded to a stabbing early Thursday morning over a parking spot.
Things outside of Target in Manteca were much mellower as Elias Biban stretched his legs just a few hours before the doors opened – the first person in a line that had grown around the front corner of the building and was slowly starting to stretch around the back.
The same items – electronics – that brought the crowds out nationwide had prompted Biban to line-up early, but it was a blend of housewares that took Selena Morano to Kohl’s Thursday afternoon with the hopes of getting a jump on her holiday shopping.
“It’s fun and you can’t beat the prices,” she said. “I used to come down by myself, but now that they open on Thursday night we eat a little bit earlier and my mother comes down with me. I think it’s something that we’ll keep doing every year.”