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Emotions, Crowds Run High for Thanksgiving Sales

Emotions ran high as did the crowd size for Gray Thursday and early Black Friday shoppers around New Jersey.

People enter Macy's Herald Square as the store opens its doors at 8 pm Thanksgiving day
People enter Macy’s Herald Square as the store opens its doors at 8 pm Thanksgiving day ( Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Many shoppers pushed themselves away from the dinner table and head out to take advantage of the bargains and sales that started on Thursday night. Some shoppers, eager to ensure they got their intended purchase, took drastic measure. Leslie Wondoloski told the Star-Ledger she slept in her car outside Kmart in East Brunswick to make sure she got the Disney Infinity action figures, an Android tablet and a 32-inch LED television.

Over 300 shoppers lined up to be among the first inside the Best Buy in Totowa according to the Bergen Record while hundreds shopped Walmart on Route 66 in Neptune which was open all day on Thanksgiving.

It got ugly at Walmart in Garfield when 23-year-old Richard Ramos had to be pepper sprayed after getting into an heated argument with a manager over a TV and attacked police when they arrived according to ABC 7.

Jersey Central Power & Light says a problem at one of its substations in Essex County cut power to The Mall at Short Hills in Millburn on Friday morning. JCP&L spokesman John Anderson tells The Associated Press the outage occurred at 6:58 a.m. and lasted about 10 minutes before power was restored.

The outage also affected parts of Summit, Millburn, Madison and Short Hills.

Dark Food Court at the Christiana Mall in Delaware
Dark Food Court at the Christiana Mall in Delaware (Facebook)

The Christiana Mall in Delaware also lost power on Friday morning according to NBC Philadelphia.

More than a dozen major retailers from Wal-Mart to Target to Toys R Us opened on Thanksgiving Day and planned to stay open through Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. As a result, crowds formed early and often throughout the two days.

The earlier openings and sales were met with some resistance. Some workers’ rights groups had planned protests on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday because they opposed having retail employees miss family meals at home. And some shoppers had said they would not venture out on Thanksgiving because they believe it’s a sacred holiday meant to spend with family and friends.

But that didn’t stop others from taking advantage of the earlier openings and sales. In fact, some retail experts question how much further Black Friday will creep into Thanksgiving. Some now even refer to the holiday as Black Thanksgiving or Gray Thursday and question whether the earlier openings will make people shop more over the two days or simply push up sales from Black Friday.

The Thanksgiving openings took a bite out of Black Friday sales last year. Sales on turkey day were $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the previous year as more stores opened on the holiday, according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak. But sales dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on Black Friday, though it still was the biggest shopping day last year.

Townsquare Media’s Dino Flammia, who shopped on Thursday night at the Freehold Raceway Mall, says the mall was “insanely packed” which could affect the number of shoppers on Friday.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report

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