A Very Early Start to 'Black Friday' Shopping

Holiday shoppers can be forgiven if they feel like a taking a nap. Stores across the country opened earlier than ever Friday morning for the post-Thanksgiving sales. But such promotional gimmicks have their limits.

At 4:30 a.m. outside a Best Buy store in Brooklyn, it already looked like a riot had swept through the parking lot. Yellow police tape was strung everywhere. Discarded trash, and umbrellas and lawn chairs littered the sidewalk. And thousands of people, still lined up around the block, looked miserable.

Frostbitten, hungry shoppers waited in line for bargains, such as laptops, camcorders and DVD players.

Black Friday is supposed to refer to the way the day's sales can push a retailer into the black ink. But black might as well refer to the mood of the shoppers waiting in line. Or to the color of the early morning sky when the doors open.

This year, some outlet malls experimented with opening at midnight. Others, including Kmart and CompUSA were doing business on Thanksgiving evening.

One shopper who failed to come away with the bargains she hoped for said she could have been home, buying items online instead.

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