The Friday after Thanksgiving, known as "Black Friday," is typically the first day of the holiday shopping season. Traditionally, people got up early Friday morning to line up at their favorite stores so they can take advantage of special sales and rare deals.
This year, they could have called it "Black Thursday Night," as stores, including Toys 'R' Us and Target, opened at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively.
Lawrence Violanti preferred when stores opened Friday.
"It takes away from being with your family on Thanksgiving," Violanti, an Essex resident, said as he and his son sat on a folding chair, in line at Target on Constant Friendship Boulevard in Abingdon. "I didn't get to spend as much time with my family because I was in line."
Violanti arrived at Target at 2:15 p.m. Thursday to be the first in line so he could get a 50-inch TV.
"It's the deals you get, and to get some bonding time with my kids," Viol anti said as to why he came. "I was at Kmart with my daughter this morning at 3:30 and my son and I came out tonight."
He specifically came to the Abingdon Target and not ones closer to his home because of the service.
"I like the way they do things here," Violanti said. "They're very organized. The associates are very nice."
Edgewood resident Mercedes Ortiz was in line with her daughter at Target at 4:30 p.m. to get a $199 XBOX bundle, complete with an extra controller and two games for her two sons, as well as Beats by Dre headphones for $179, normally $199. She always shops on Black Friday, "but never this early."
"In order to do this, we had Thanksgiving lunch at 12:30," Ortiz said, laughing. "I got up at 5, and put the turkey in at 6:30."
Ortiz didn't mind shopping earlier this year, saying she still got to spend time with her family.
"I saw them two hours ago any way, and I see them every day," Ortiz said. She laughed as she added "I usually get sick of them at 2 and want to kick everyone out."
Robin Porter, of Edgewood, preferred it when shopping began later, seeing it as a tradition.
"The tradition was you are out at midnight and shivering in the cold," Porter said as she waited in line at Target for a TV. "Now, it's like I gulp down my pumpkin pie and rush out here."
Porter ate Thanksgiving dinner with her family at 2 p.m. Thursday, not at 5 p.m. like she normally does.
"If you wait and eat late, you're at the end of the line," Porter said, laughing.
At Toys 'R' Us in Bel Air, employees were letting in 50 shoppers at a time approximately every 15 minutes. Christine Staooard had been in line since 7 p.m. with her husband so she could buy a Nintendo Wii video game. She wasn't in favor of the earlier start.
"I don't think they should open until 5 a.m. on Friday morning," Staooard, a Bel Air resident, said. "It cuts into Thanksgiving, and that's supposed to be family time."
Heather Morals, of Forest Hill, also didn't like the early start to Black Friday.
"I think that it is getting too early," Morat said in line at Toys 'R' Us. "Pretty soon, you'll be missing the turkey."
Morat wondered about the reasoning behind the earlier start.
"I don't know what the companies are thinking of," Morals said.
"It's kind of sad that employees have to work earlier this year," her mother, Sherrie Shemming, of Essex, said.
Amber Maggiore, of Edgewood, didn't mind the earlier store openings.
"It has its ups and downs," Maggiore said while waiting in line with her friend, Ashley Wooten, of Fallston. "My husband and I can go to work tomorrow."
Wooten was glad to be out earlier, but felt bad for store employees.
"I like it because I'm wide awake and not half asleep," Wooten said. " I hate that [store employees] have to work, and that I have to shop."