NEW YORK — Neither snow, rain, gloom of night nor an extra helping of sweet potato pie could keep shoppers from their appointed rounds on Thanksgiving.
Despite calls from consumers, sales associates and social commentators for a boycott of stores that were open for business yesterday, the siren song of holiday sales proved too strong to resist.
At Thanksgiving central – Macy’s Herald Square – more than 15,000 shoppers were ready and waiting for the world’s largest department store to open its doors at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
“Obviously the customers wanted us to open at 6:00 based on the incredible traffic we’re having in this store,” CEO Terry Lundgren told USA Today.
Ten blocks uptown, a crowd of 200 rushed Toys“R”Us’ flagship Times Square store at its 5 p.m. opening, while 800 miles west in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Ill., the parking lot of a Walmart store was full a half hour before the first round of Black Friday doorbusters began at 6:00, the Associated Press reported.
Not even a Nor’easter could dampen Black Friday enthusiasm. In Newington, N.H., shoppers braved the first major storm of the season to begin lining up outside a Best Buy store on Wednesday night. Their prize: a 50-inch Panasonic LED TV for $199, several customers told Seacoastonline.
But not everyone was there for the deals. Walmart workers submitted strike notices to store managers in at least six states in advance of Black Friday, presaging a third annual holiday protest over long hours and low wages, The Huffington Post reported.
Meanwhile, demonstrators marched outside St. Louis-area Walmart and Target stores last night to express their frustration with a grand jury’s decision in the Ferguson, Mo., shooting, Time Magazine said.
Holiday weekend sales and traffic stats are expected to begin trickling in over the next several days.