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Black Friday nationwide coverage: Shoppers find better online

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 8:15 a.m. MDT

People wait outside the American Eagle store for it to open at the Citadel Outlets on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day this year.  (Jae C. Hong, Associated Press) People wait outside the American Eagle store for it to open at the Citadel Outlets on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day this year. (Jae C. Hong, Associated Press)

The holiday shopping season kicked off early, as several retailers began offering deals on Thanksgiving Day. Many people complained about the early start and the mad rush for deals — yet they went out shopping anyway. Deals aren't over yet, as big retailers believe they must continue offering them to lure shoppers.

Here's how the start of the holiday shopping season played out. All times are EST, unless otherwise specified.

— Friday, 5 p.m.: Black Friday may be winding down, but deals aren't.

Despite signs that the economy is improving, big store chains such as Wal-Mart and Kohl's don't expect Americans to have much holiday shopping cheer unless they see bold, red signs that offer huge discounts. As a result, shoppers are seeing big sales events earlier and more often than in previous holiday seasons.

As the sun begins to set, people wait for the opening of Toys R' Us in York, Pa. for Black Friday shopping on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013.  (Jason Plotkin, Associated Press) As the sun begins to set, people wait for the opening of Toys R' Us in York, Pa. for Black Friday shopping on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (Jason Plotkin, Associated Press)

Read more at:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/americans-not-willing-spend-without-deals

— Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer, New York

— Friday, 4:55 p.m.: Don't bother telling Santa what you want.

Victor Gonzalez, 36, and his wife braved a rare Southern California rain storm at Citadel Outlets. He said his kids all want the new Microsoft game console, the Xbox One, "but they're getting clothes."

"They're not going to be too happy about that!" he admitted, but said the kids already have an older-model Xbox "that works fine."

Meanwhile, Lois Scheer said her 11-year-old granddaughter wants "a computer" for Christmas, but instead she bought her a pink sweatsuit.

Customers are reflected in a mirror in the shoe section of the Macy's Herald Square flagship store, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving this year. (John Minchillo, Associated Press) Customers are reflected in a mirror in the shoe section of the Macy's Herald Square flagship store, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving this year. (John Minchillo, Associated Press)

— Christopher Weber, Associated Press, Los Angeles

— Friday, 4:40 p.m.: Labor-backed groups target Wal-Mart on Black Friday

Labor-backed groups used Black Friday to launch demonstrations over wages and working conditions at Wal-Mart. They're also protesting what they believe is Wal-Mart's retaliation against employees who speak out against their jobs. Union representatives said there have been peaceful arrests in nine cities, including Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle and Sacramento, Calif.

But Wal-Mart said that only six workers have participated in demonstrations on Black Friday. The retailer has 1.4 million workers.

— Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer, New York

— Friday, 4:05 p.m.: Formerly homeless man compares shopping frenzy to drug abuse

A shopper holds her purchases while shopping at a Gap factory store at the Citadel Outlets on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Los Angeles . Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day this year.  (Jae C. Hong, Associated Press) A shopper holds her purchases while shopping at a Gap factory store at the Citadel Outlets on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Los Angeles . Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day this year. (Jae C. Hong, Associated Press)

As Seattle shoppers cruised the sidewalks, Michael Wiggins stood in the crowd trying to sell a $2 newspaper that supports the causes of homeless and low-income residents. The 50-year-old himself was off-and-on homeless for 32 years but is now living in a condo with the help of rental assistance.

Looking around the crowds, Wiggins said he was concerned about the focus on spending and said it was sad to see people spending to potentially put themselves in debt.

"How are you getting ahead?" Wiggins said. "Why are you killing yourself for a pair of underwear?"

Wiggins said the shoppers were "fake" and not being honest with themselves. He compared their focus on acquiring items to how he used to abuse alcohol and drugs

— Michael R. Baker, Associated Press, Seattle

— Friday, 3:10 p.m.: Wal-Mart says 5 million shoppers took advantage of a one-hour guarantee program on Thanksgiving night. That's up from a preliminary count of 1 million. The strategy allows shoppers who are inside a Wal-Mart store within one hour of a doorbuster sales event to buy that product and either take it home that day or by Christmas.

Best Buy bargain hunters swarm manager Ramon Estevez, right, as he hands out scarves and hats that will identify those eligible for specially priced door-buster sale items late in the evening on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Dunwoody, Ga. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers opened on Thanksgiving this year.   (David Tulis, Associated Press) Best Buy bargain hunters swarm manager Ramon Estevez, right, as he hands out scarves and hats that will identify those eligible for specially priced door-buster sale items late in the evening on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Dunwoody, Ga. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers opened on Thanksgiving this year. (David Tulis, Associated Press)

Among the items: a $98 32-inch flat-panel LED TV.

— Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer, New York

— Friday, 3 p.m.: Crowded holiday shopping lot in Va. turns violent.

A dispute in a Virginia parking lot crowded with holiday shoppers turned violent Thanksgiving night, with one throwing a punch and another responding by cutting him with a knife and brandishing a rifle, the sheriff's office said Friday.

Both men were charged Thursday after the altercation in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Tazewell County that sent panicked shoppers scattering.

Christopher Jackson, 35, was waiting for another shopper to leave a parking space when Ronnie Sharp, 61, began sounding his horn behind Jackson's vehicle, the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office said.

Sarah Pilla, right, and her boyfriend, Chris Gonzalez, look at a store directory at Citadel Outlets on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers opened on Thanksgiving day this year.  (Jae C. Hong, Associated Press) Sarah Pilla, right, and her boyfriend, Chris Gonzalez, look at a store directory at Citadel Outlets on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers opened on Thanksgiving day this year. (Jae C. Hong, Associated Press)

Sheriff Brian Hieatt said Jackson got out of his vehicle and confronted Sharp, punching him, and Sharp responded by severely cutting Jackson on the arm with a knife and pulling out a rifle. The rifle was not loaded.

— Friday, 2:50 p.m.: A deal is a deal, even if it comes with hassles.

Barbara Salort, a school aide from Springfield. N.J., went to Wal-Mart on Thursday night in hopes of scoring Beats headphones. The store ran out just as she got to the front of the line — but Wal-Mart offered a voucher.

"After you wait in a line, you wait in another line, and after you're close they give you a coupon and say 'Oh it's guaranteed!'"

She said she paid for them. She said the deal was worth it — at $114 instead of $175.

Nicole Reed, Left, and her mother Margie Jones of Ashtabula, Ohio, buy toys for the needy during a Black Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, shopping trip to the Ashtabula Township Super Kmart.  (Warren Dillaway, Associated Press) Nicole Reed, Left, and her mother Margie Jones of Ashtabula, Ohio, buy toys for the needy during a Black Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, shopping trip to the Ashtabula Township Super Kmart. (Warren Dillaway, Associated Press)

— Candice Choi, AP Retail Writer, Millburn, N.J.

— Friday, 1:45 p.m.: Some avoid Black Friday and donate or get coats instead in Rhode Island

While shoppers were spending Black Friday at the mall, some people in Rhode Island were taking a break from commerce to give away a coat or get one for free.

It's the state's twist on Buy Nothing Day, a two-decade-old statement against consumerism that started in Vancouver and is now marked on the day after Thanksgiving in some places in the U.S.

Maureen Keane is unemployed and picked up four coats for friends as Christmas gifts. She says she can't afford gifts this year.

— Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press, Providence, R.I.

— Friday, 1:05 p.m.: Most deals not worth the hassle for Georgia couple

Bob and Thelma Crenshaw leave J.C. Penny's early Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, morning after a Black Friday shopping trip in Ashtabula Township, Ohio.   (Warren Dillaway, Associated Press) Bob and Thelma Crenshaw leave J.C. Penny's early Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, morning after a Black Friday shopping trip in Ashtabula Township, Ohio. (Warren Dillaway, Associated Press)

Tony Abruzzio and his wife, Sherry, aborted an attempt to buy gifts at a Bass Pro Shop in Savannah, Ga., when they saw what looked like at least 100 people waiting for cashiers. "I just put our stuff back," Abruzzio said. "We didn't want to stand in line all day."

— Russ Bynum, Associated Press, Savannah, Ga.

— Friday, 12:45 p.m.: Black Friday — and its problems — aren't limited to the United States.

At least one person has been injured in Northern Ireland as shoppers rushed to get deals for Black Friday, a day of sales modeled on the American kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

British supermarket chain Asda — owned by U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart — has been advertising its Black Friday deals throughout the U.K.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it was called to Westwood Center in Belfast and took a woman with an arm injury to the hospital.

Asda's Westwood store had two dozen 32-inch TVs on sale at reduced prices, according to Britain's Press Association.

Asda said in a statement that the safety of its customers is of "vital importance" and that it has extra security in stores.

— Friday, 12:20 p.m.: In an interview, Macy's CEO says employees chose Thanksgiving shifts.

Like many other retailers, Macy's began offering deals on Thursday. Some workers' rights groups threatened protests at various retailers.

Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren said about 90 percent of the spots filled by regular employees. He said the company gave first choice to its 176,000 full-time workers. Many were willing, he said, partly because of overtime pay.

— Mae Anderson, AP Retail Writer, New York

— Friday, 11:35 a.m.: A dummy holds place in line for Anchorage shopper.

Annie Luck's Black Friday started Wednesday and included a mannequin.

The 53-year-old Anchorage woman set up a lawn chair at 4 p.m. Wednesday, local time, to stake out first place in line for the opening of Best Buy 26 hours later. She spent part of Wednesday night sleeping in her car. A dummy in a face mask and construction hat held her place.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Luck wore five pairs of pants and five shirts to stay warm in 16-degree temperatures.

Luck figured she could save $1,100 by getting to the store early for two laptop computers and three iPods.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/IoI0KY

— Friday, 10:25 a.m.: Florida man arrested after baby left alone in shopping center parking lot

A father faces felony child neglect charges after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper spotted a baby left alone in a car outside a Best Buy store.

The incident happened about 5:30 p.m. Thursday near Orlando.

Authorities say trooper Edy Rivera saw the infant in a car seat inside a locked car. He went into the store, looking for the vehicle's owner. When no one came forward, he broke the vehicle's window and got the baby boy out.

A short time later, officials say 34-year-old Haider Darwash returned to the vehicle. He told troopers he thought his wife had the baby. She was located standing in line at another business in the shopping center.

The child was not harmed.

Darwash was booked into jail.

— Friday, 8:35 a.m.: No fistfights, but store out of Furby

The atmosphere was calm at the stores Judy Phillips and Bonnie Dow visited during their annual Black Friday trek that began Thanksgiving night. They eventually made it to Target in nearby Clifton Park, N.Y. "No one's been fist fighting with anybody," Dow said.

Phillips said they got "great deals" on such items as blankets, but they couldn't buy the popular Furby toy. "They're all sold out," she said.

— Chris Carola, Associated Press, Clifton Park, N.Y.

— Friday, 7:30 a.m.: Exhaustion for shopper near Atlanta

Curtis Akins, 51, drove about three hours from Tifton, Ga., to watch the annual Macy's tree-lighting ceremony at Lenox Square mall in Atlanta on Thanksgiving. The store opened for shoppers at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and the rest of the mall opened at midnight.

By 5 a.m. Friday, he was sitting on a bench — looking slightly exhausted — inside another mall as his wife shopped. Akins said he wasn't keen on Black Friday starting earlier.

"It's taking away from the traditional Thanksgiving," he said.

— Jeff Martin, Associated Press, Alpharetta, Ga.

— Thursday, 6 p.m.: An hour after its 6 p.m. opening, a Best Buy in New York City was bustling. Buying a TV on was on Rodney Bernard's mind. "My friend is chewing me out right now for not being there," said Bernard, 39, a writer. Instead of being at his friend's Thanksgiving celebration, he was at Best Buy. "But I really needed a TV."

— Mae Anderson, AP Retail Writer, New York

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