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Early Black Friday hours have holiday shoppers flipping Thanksgiving traditions

LIVE OAK, Tex. (KTSA News) — In recent years, getting a good deal on Black Friday meant sacrificing parts, if not all, of your Thanksgiving holiday.

Shoppers in line early at stores like Best Buy and Target say the Black Friday deals are starting so early, many are flipping around the routine.

“Just here and I’m going straight home and get something to eat,” Ervin Santana said while waiting outside the Best Buy in Live Oak.  “Now you can still have time to be with your family and eat.  By the time the food is ready, you already have your savings.”

Some got in line as early as 5 a.m. Thursday to be ready for 5 p.m. doorbusters and they don’t mind spending the holiday in their folding chairs in front of the stores.

“Well, I wanted to be sure I am first in line to get what I came to get what I came to get.  If you’re not six hours early, you’re going to be late,” Brian Eads said in front of Target in Live Oak.

“Thanksgiving isn’t as big of a deal anymore,” Mark West explained outside the Live Oak Best Buy.  “You get a lot of good savings if you go and wait and wait and wait and that’s why we do it.”

Only a handful of people were waiting outside some stores around midday Thursday.  There were about a dozen in total waiting outside stores at the Forum in Live Oak and Selma at around noon.  Two people were tossing around a football outside a Best Buy along Loop 1604 at around the same time, while no one was waiting outside the Target along U.S. 281 and TPC Parkway.

Lots of deals are expected to be found online this holiday season, but these waiters outside stores aren’t buying it.

“The only thing that’s after today is I think Cyber Monday and they aren’t as good as coming into the stores,” Santana said.  “If they’re not here, they are not saving as much as we are.  It’s better for us if they want to keep that mindset.”

They say going to stores is part of the holiday season magic.

“Actually, if brick and mortar goes out, gone, and we don’t have it anymore, it would be a real, real tragedy.  It really would.  It would suck,” West stated. “I went to the North Star Mall like about a week ago and I could not believe how many people were at North Star Mall.  It was like a regular mall like when I was younger going to the mall — that’s what it felt like.  That Montgomery Wards isn’t around, that Sears, that Kmart is not around — that’s sad.”

From the stores’ perspectives, they were prepared with metal barriers lining the front of their stores for the expected onslaught of shoppers.  Employees — who are also spending their Thanksgiving day at these stores, though in a climate controlled environment — slipped their way through the metal barriers to get into the stores to prepare.

The shoppers are prepared, too.  They know exactly what they plan to buy and know what they are going to do when things get busy.

“Some places get to be pandemonium,” Eads said with a slight grin.  “I’m going to be sure I’m going to be the first one in the door, no one is going to cut in the line.”

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