Cathi Mielke, a committed Black Friday shopper, got a slightly earlier start this year than in prior years.
"I like Black Friday shopping," the Carroll County resident said as she was leaving Best Buy in Bel Air Thursday night. "This is the first time I've gone out at 3 o' clock in the afternoon on Thanksgiving to go shopping."
Retailers throughout Harford County and the nation opened their doors as early as 6 p.m. Thursday to allow shoppers seeking deals on toys and electronics to get a jump on their Christmas shopping.
Mielke came to Best Buy with her aunt, Debbie Burk, and Burk's son, William. The Burks, who used to live in Forest Hill, reside in Airville, Pa., about 25 miles as the crow flies due north of Bel Air.
Debbie Burk said the trio put a rush on their Thanksgiving dinner and were out Thursday because her son wanted to take advantage of a specific deal on a big-screen television at the Fallston Walmart.
The television was sold out when they arrived at the Walmart shortly after 6 p.m., but they continued shopping, making stops at other Bel Air-area retailers such as Best Buy and Toys R Us.
"We've been to Toys R Us, Walmart, here, back to Toys R Us for the 5 a.m. sale," Mielke said.
Mielke said she planned to return to the Bel Air Toys R Us Friday morning to pick up a tablet that would be on sale then.
A steady stream of shoppers made their way through the Best Buy. Crowds were orderly and employees wearing blue shirts helped customers interested in the latest smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions.
Simon Sheung of Toronto, Canada, was visiting his sister, Stephenie, who lives in Bel Air, for Thanksgiving.