Black Friday Came Early This Year

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Photo: Andrew Kelly/2012 Getty Images

In the old days, most people would let themselves slip into a coma for a least a few hours before leaving to scour the aisles for the year’s best Black Friday deals. But this Thanksgiving, shoppers didn't wait until morning, and instead went straight from the dinner table to the deep discounts. Retailers like Walmart, Target, Sears, and Toys ‘R’ Us couldn’t wait for the mobs to flood their stores, and opened doors as early as 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night.

Taking the opportunity to make a point, Walmart employees protested the earlier start time, refusing to work Thursday night and Friday morning. Union-backed group OUR Walmart had demonstrations in 100 cities, some even resulting in arrests. The mega retailer insisted it only saw a "few dozen" protests — and not from its own employees, of course.

As always, the sales were not without incident. A man pulled the requisite gun on another shopper at a San Antonio mall, and you can see a mob attacking a display case of cell phones at a Walmart in Georgia.

Luckily, most of the extreme craziness happened outside our fair city. New Yorkers lined up by the thousands at retail havens like Macy’s, Best Buy, and Toys 'R' Us to catch the best deals, and they were well-behaved, considering the circumstances. "We got some good discounts and it was easy to get around," said one Coney Island woman of the situation at Macy's Herald Square. "They whizzed us through to the register and had guards in there to control aggressive behavior." One shopper spoke for many as she hauled away a super cheap 43-inch TV and printer from Atlantic Terminal's P.C. Richard & Son: "There are too many people, but we got a great deal so it was worth the madness," she said.