The Associated Press
The holiday shopping season kicked off early, as several retailers began offering deals on Thanksgiving. Many people complained about the early start and the mad rush for deals -- yet they went shopping anyway. Deals aren't over yet, as big retailers believe they must continue offering them to lure shoppers.
Here's how the start of the holiday shopping season played out. All times are EST, unless otherwise specified.
-- Friday, 4:55 p.m.: Don't bother telling Santa what you want.
In Los Angeles, Victor Gonzalez, 36, said his kids all want the new Microsoft game console, the Xbox One, "but they're getting clothes."
"They're not going to be too happy about that!" he admitted, but said the kids already have an older-model Xbox "that works fine."
Meanwhile, Lois Scheer said her 11-year-old granddaughter wants "a computer" for Christmas, but instead she bought her a pink sweatsuit.
-- Christopher Weber, Associated Press, Los Angeles
-- Friday, 4:40 p.m.: Labor-backed groups target Wal-Mart on Black Friday
Labor-backed groups used Black Friday to launch demonstrations over wages and working conditions at Wal-Mart. Union representatives said there have been peaceful arrests in nine cities.
But Wal-Mart said that only six workers have participated in demonstrations. The retailer has 1.4 million workers.
-- Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer, New York
-- Friday, 4:05 p.m.: Formerly homeless man compares shopping frenzy to drug abuse
As Seattle shoppers cruised the sidewalks, Michael Wiggins stood in the crowd trying to sell a $2 newspaper that supports the causes of homeless and low-income residents. The 50-year-old himself has been off-and-on homeless for 32 years but is now living in a condo with the help of rental assistance.
Looking around the crowds, Wiggins said he was concerned about the focus on spending and said it was sad to see people spending and potentially putting themselves in debt.
"How are you getting ahead?" Wiggins said. "Why are you killing yourself for a pair of underwear?"
Wiggins said the shoppers were "fake" and not being honest with themselves. He compared their focus on acquiring items to how he used to abuse alcohol and drugs
-- Michael R. Baker, Associated Press, Seattle
-- Friday, 3 p.m.: Crowded holiday shopping lot in Va. turns violent.
A dispute in a Virginia parking lot crowded with holiday shoppers turned violent Thanksgiving night, with one throwing a punch and another responding by cutting him with a knife and brandishing a rifle, the sheriff's office said Friday.
Both men were charged Thursday after the altercation in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Tazewell County that sent panicked shoppers scattering.
Christopher Jackson, 35, was waiting for another shopper to leave a parking space when Ronnie Sharp, 61, began sounding his horn behind Jackson's vehicle, the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office said.
Sheriff Brian Hieatt said Jackson got out of his vehicle and confronted Sharp, punching him, and Sharp responded by severely cutting Jackson on the arm with a knife and pulling out a rifle. The rifle was not loaded.
-- Friday, 2:50 p.m.: A deal is a deal, even if it comes with hassles.
Barbara Salort, a school aide from Springfield. N.J., went to Wal-Mart on Thursday night in hopes of scoring Beats headphones. The store ran out just as she got to the front of the line -- but Wal-Mart offered a voucher.
"After you wait in a line, you wait in another line, and after you're close they give you a coupon and say 'Oh it's guaranteed!'"
She said she paid for them. She said the deal was worth it -- at $114 instead of $175.
-- Candice Choi, AP Retail Writer, Millburn, N.J.
-- Friday, 1:45 p.m.: Some avoid Black Friday and donate or get coats instead in Rhode Island
While shoppers were spending Black Friday at the mall, some people in Rhode Island were taking a break from commerce to give away a coat or get one for free.
It's the state's twist on Buy Nothing Day, a two-decade-old statement against consumerism that started in Vancouver and is now marked on the day after Thanksgiving in some places in the U.S.
Maureen Keane is unemployed and picked up four coats for friends as Christmas gifts. She says she can't afford gifts this year.
-- Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press, Providence, R.I.
-- Friday, 1:05 p.m.: Most deals not worth the hassle for Georgia couple
Tony Abruzzio and his wife, Sherry, aborted an attempt to buy gifts at a Bass Pro Shop in Savannah, Ga., when they saw what looked like at least 100 people waiting for cashiers. "I just put our stuff back," Abruzzio said. "We didn't want to stand in line all day."