Bargain hunters flocked to U.S. stores late on Thursday for the traditional post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales.
Some stores, looking to grab as big a piece as possible of what is expected to be a middling holiday shopping season, opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening for the first time in years, getting a jump start on the traditional beginning to the U.S. holiday shopping season.
Some shoppers camped out for hours for the chance to snatch one of the “door-buster” deals retailers offer to entice customers.
“If I get it here for $199, it’s worth waiting 20 hours,” said Adam Deleary, eating his Thanksgiving dinner outside a Best Buy electronics store in New Jersey.
“It doesn’t bother me because I’m off from work. My family understands, so why not sit here and wait for the best deal?”
At a Walmart store in Los Angeles, the shopping frenzy turned ugly. Twenty shoppers were injured when a woman squirted pepper spray inside the store.
“We got the call from Walmart, from LAPD, that there had been a pepper spray at some kind of storming the door type of thing at the Walmart up at Porter Ranch,” said Wes Elder of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
“Upon arrival, what we found out was that there was a patron that was inside the store that had deployed some pepper spray. So it resulted in 20 patients total that had just a brief exposure to the pepper spray.”
A woman in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was shot in the leg in a parking lot across from a Walmart after two men pulled a gun on a group during a hold up, and a man was shot at a Walmart parking lot in San Leandro, Calif. Both were expected to survive their injuries.
Only a handful of stores opened on Thanksgiving Day, including Walmart, Old Navy and Kmart. To narrow the gap in store hours with rivals, discounter Target, electronics chain Best Buy and department store chains Macy’s and Kohl’s opened at midnight — their earliest starts ever.
Those midnight openings drew online petition protests from store workers.
Others retailers were opening early on Friday morning as they did last year.