GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The notion of Black Friday is increasingly becoming Green Thursday as more and more retailers begin the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving night. And shoppers don't seem to mind.
Black Friday -- so named because it traditionally was the day when retailers would turn a profit (go into the black) -- has assumed an iconic mantle in American lexicon. But the advent of online shopping, 24 hour retailers that never close, and Americans who are once again feeling good about the economy all contributed to an expansion of the holiday shopping season that now begins on Thanksgiving night.
Dozens of people lined up at Toys R Us in Grand Rapids to be the first to grab great deals on the hot items of the season at bargain prices - or at least prices that seem like a bargain.
And since Thanksgiving this year fell on the earliest possible date -- making the holiday shopping season the longest possible -- retailers served up sales with gusto.
Thanksgiving came early for Kris Hanson and her Fennville family, an entire day early because she knew they'd be camped out on concrete for the sales.
"Yes, we did," she said when asked if they changed the family Thanksgiving for Black Friday. "Black Friday's all it."
Hanson has been in line since before noon Thursday, and she won't end her shopping until "about 8 tomorrow morning."
"We do it every year," she said.
The Laube family has three generations of dedicated shoppers. Dora Laube said the early store openings changed the way she shops.
"It spreads it out more where you can get more of the sales," she said. "When they were all opening at the same time it was harder.")
An 8 p.m. opening lured some unlikely Black Friday shoppers out because they can still score deals and get some sleep.
"It's a little harder to get up really early in the morning and I'm kind of not a morning person," said Shaleena Slagle.
Regardless of when the sales begin, Kris Hanson is willing to change family traditions for bargain shopping.
"I'd change (our family Thanksgiving) again," she said. And if stores open earlier?
"I'd change it again."
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