Business

Shoppers Rush Stores For ‘Gray Thursday’ On Thanksgiving Day

Decision To Open Early Has Met With Mixed Reaction

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In a decision that has met with mixed reaction, more and more retailers have decided to open on Thanksgiving Day for pre-Black Friday sales.

As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Thursday morning, the shopping was already under way as early as the 6 a.m. hour at the K-Mart in White Plains, for what some have now dubbed “Gray Thursday.”

Shoppers filed into the store in a quick and orderly fashion – a far cry from the typical craziness of Black Friday.

Araceli Pina and her mother were first in line when the K-Mart opened at 6 a.m.

“Now here we are, 6 a.m., and it’s gray Thursday. What’s it going to be next year?” Pina said.

With steep deals on everything from TVs to clothing, shoppers said bargain hunting on Thanksgiving Day is all about convenience.

K-Mart will be open for 41 hours straight, through Friday, offering some significant deals.

One customer, Janelle Monzon, said the early morning trek to K-Mart on Thanksgiving was well worth the trouble.

“It was worth it. We got here at 5:15. We’re in at 6; came out with some tablets and some toys for the kids, so it was definitely worth it. It was definitely worth it,” she said.

Monzon said she planned to go on to visit Wal-Mart, Target, and “some other stores that my mother wants to go to.”

“We won’t start cooking ’til we get home at 7, so my mom was like, ‘Why don’t we just get the sales?’ We’re going to be there, and we won’t come back out until tonight after dinner, so no one gets mad,” she said.

Not far away in Yonkers, people waited outside a Best Buy a good 12 hours before the store was scheduled to open at 6 a.m.

“The one thing is a $350 item, and it’s $100 off,” said shopper Bob Micklick.

Meanwhile at a Wal-Mart in Linden, N.J., WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported long lines formed early as people waited for discounts to kick in Thursday night.

B.J. Rivera of Staten Island arrived at the Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. Tuesday. He slept in his van just to keep his place in line.

He was looking for “a tablet and a bunch of stuff for my kitchen and for my kids.”

This was the second year Rivera had gone to such lengths for his family.

“The smile that they put on when they open their gifts, that’s all that matters to me,” he said.

He braved the cold and rain for days to save money and make Christmas priceless.

“Words can’t describe it,” he said. “It just makes you feel good inside.”

Retailers’ decision to open on Thanksgiving Day has not been met with universal approval. Some retailers have elected to stay closed and give their employees their day off.

One worker at the Menlo Park Mall in Edison, N.J., set up a petition asking his employers to rethink their decision to open at 8 p.m. Thursday and not to close until 10 p.m. Friday, according to NJ.com.

“The fact that we may not even be granted the same relaxation or be able to spend a National Holiday that gives thanks for our families with our family is absolutely and indubitably absurd!” wrote the worker, Anthony Rivera.

But Monzon said she had no problem with retailers opening on Thanksgiving.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, to be honest with you. Everyone’s going to be leaving here soon. Everyone was here. Everyone’s leaving. They’ll be home in time to cook and be with their families, and they’ll come back later today after their dinners, or their lunch – whatever it is that they do,” Monzon said.

And some said there was no way they would miss out on the deals.

“They are worth it,” said Pina. “It’s definitely worth it, being up at 4 o’clock in the morning and being cold right now.”

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com: