Gary Reed’s shopping cart overflowed with bags of clothes and sports equipment early Friday morning. Shopping for his children was the easy part.
“Wrapping this stuff is my least favorite part,” Reed said.
Thousands of shoppers took advantage of Black Friday sales, which began as early as 5 p.m. Thursday at some stores.
Reed, of Patton Township, said his goal each year is to save money on presents for his children.
“My parents worked really hard, but we didn’t have much,” Reed said. “We always had a light Christmas, and I’ve got the opportunity now to do everything I can for my kids like my parents did for me, so why not save money and get some nice things for them?”
The Twigg family has made a tradition of Black Friday shopping.
They booked a hotel room at the Days Inn and traveled from Montoursville. First stop: Staples to get a new computer.
“Our computer crashed, and we do our banking on it, so we just need something that’s reliable,” Corey Twigg said. “The one we want is $99, which doesn’t have a lot of memory, but we won’t store a lot of memory on it.”
After Staples, he planned to take his family to Nittany Mall to shop at J.C. Penney, Bon-Ton and Claire’s.
“This is only my second experience doing this thing,” Twigg said. “I have my wife and two girls, and they’ve done it for years. They finally dragged me along.”
Marc-Jean Desjardins set up a tent outside Best Buy to get a new TV. He waited 17 hours and was first through the doors when they opened.
“I’m trying to get that $200 50-inch TV,” Desjardins, of Ferguson Township, said. “I called, and they said people start to show up around midnight on Wednesday, so I figured if I showed up earlier than everyone else I could pass out and wake up around 10 a.m. and then I’d only have to wait a couple hours. It’s worth it.”
Tim Teague, of Renovo, drove for about an hour — hoping for deals on a TV and video games — then stood in the line at Best Buy along with about 300 people just before the doors opened Thursday.
“I’d like to get a good deal on a TV and video games, video games and more video games,” Teague said.
One Thanksgiving Day shopper had her young daughter stand in Best Buy’s long, winding checkout line as she shopped.
“You’d do the same thing, too,” the woman said without giving her name.
Sharon Miller, of Bellefonte, didn’t think the crowd at Best Buy was so bad.
“It’s not as bad as I’d thought it’d be,” Miller said. “I don’t know why.”
Best Buy assistant manager Chris Stewart said the store’s 5 p.m. Thursday opening probably kept initial crowds down.
“I think with the earlier opening it disperses people a lot more throughout the night,” Stewart said. “This is about on par with what we get each year, and it’ll get busier later.”
Nicole Hane, of Pleasant Gap, shopped in Target’s toy section Friday morning and said she’d never shop on Thanksgiving Day.
“I can get everything my kids want without waiting in a line for forever,” Hane said. “They made their lists the last few days, and it’s their goal to get some of the games I have in the cart, and some of the things are for my nieces.”
Cathy Thompson, her daughter Mandy, her sister Sharon Ault and her niece Rachel Smith also made lists to shop for other people Friday, but admitted it’s hard to pass up things that catch their eyes.
“My mom and I are the best shopping partners, but we’ll shop for friends and family mostly,” Mandy Thompson, of Dillsburg, said.
“Well, we’ll maybe get some things for ourselves depending on what we see, and sometimes we see a lot,” Cathy Thompson, of Bellefonte, added.
The first thing Mandy Thompson bought for herself was “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” a video game for her Xbox 360.
They said they’d probably find more stuff for themselves at Kohl’s.
“I don’t think we’re the hard-core shoppers, but this is our fun day,” Cathy Thompson said.