Shoppers, workers brace for 'Black Friday' - beginning tonight

Shoppers, workers brace for 'Black Friday' - beginning tonight »Play Video
Tents were lined up outside the Gresham Best Buy store in the morning as shoppers held spots in line for the chain's Black Friday opening at midnight Thursday. (KATU photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - It used to be that "Black Friday," the annual shopping chaos that kicks off the holiday buying season, started the Friday morning after Thanksgiving.

Some stores began opening their doors  before dawn. Then it was midnight, on Thursday.

Now, Black Friday has crept well into Thursday, with many stores jockeying for shoppers by opening Thanksgiving evening. Stores are opening their doors at 8 or 9 p.m., sometimes earlier.

Black Friday got its name because the increased holiday sales have traditionally nudged store balance sheets "into the black" for the year.

Doorbuster deals, such as huge price cuts on a limited number of popular electronic items, have prompted some people to camp out in line since before Thanksgiving Day in order to land a great deal.

Johnathan Weiser and Sierra Ridell set up their tent outside the Best Buy store in Springfield. They were taking shifts with their friends until the store opens at midnight Thursday.

Weiser said that he and his friends were first in line last year and scored some great deals.

"Doing the math for this year ... on getting a laptop, a new gaming system a few games. I figure I'm saving about five or six hundred bucks." laughed Weiser.

Others camped at the Best Buy in Gresham, Ore. said they were planning on grilling Thanksgiving dinner while in line. Others said family members were going to bring them food.

Either way, a hot meal would be welcomed to the shoppers staying out all night in the cold. Weiser and his group plans to stay warm with the countless blankets and sleeping bags that filled the tent.

The forecast for the day calls for dry conditions into the evening.

The steady creep of Black Friday sales into Thursday has met resistance in some quarters.

Walmart and Target plan to open stores at 8 p.m. Thursday. The actions may be met with protests about the treatment of workers, including opening on Thursday evening, at some stores.

For Walmart, the 8 p.m. opening is two hours earlier than last year's Black Friday.

Other stores that are pushing opening Black Friday sales into Thursday include Sears and Toys-R-Us.

Locally, the Fred Meyer chain, which is owned by Kroger, will be open for regular business Thursday until 4 p.m.

Their Black Friday sales begin at 5 a.m. Friday, and includes their traditional 50-percent off sale on socks - but that only lasts for 6 hours, a Fred Meyer worker in Portland told KATU.com.

As for the local