EL CENTRO â€“ Shopping with mass numbers, brawls broke out at Imperial Valley Mall as at other shopping centers across the country, Thursday evening, the official start of â€œBlack Friday.â€
Thanksgiving Day shopping has become a new tradition for millions of American families who love the idea of scoring big savings over the weekend on gifts and non-gift items.
Several department stores sent out â€œdoorbusterâ€ coupons valid for shoppers arriving as early as 3:00 p.m. while others handed out instant savings coupons with a chance to reap up an unbelievable $500 off of a $500 purchase.
â€œI waited in line for hours hoping to get a lucky coupon but all I got was $10 off $10. Oh well, either way, my savings today will be tremendous with the numerous doorbuster sales throughout the store,â€ said Carmen Lira, a JC Penny shopper.â€œ
Some retailers pushed customers seeking holiday bargains earlier than the biggest shopping day of the year, offering discounts and flash sales online and in-stores, well before the traditional Black Friday shopping day.
â€œThrough the years I have learned that shopping online is much more convenient than waiting hours in line,â€ said Heather Simmons. â€œYou get the same deals with a better selection – and without the hassle and frustration of not finding the right size or color. Most of my Christmas shopping is done. Iâ€™m not looking to buy anything in particular but if I see a deal I sure will take advantage of it. If not, Cyber Monday will be my best friend.â€
In order to hold the first position in line, three Mexicali men camped out in front of Best Buy retail store since November 23, in hopes of landing some excellent doorbuster deals on electronics.
For families with young children and for those who collect festive pictures, photos with Santa were also available and will continue through Christmas Eve.
â€œBringing my kids to take a picture with Santa is a tradition for us,â€ said Marisol Saldivar, Mexicali resident. â€œMy kids get excited to see him every year and I get to do some Christmas shopping while we are out here.â€
The Gran Plaza Outlets in Calexico also got their usual jump on the holiday season sales where thousands flooded the stores searching for the best deals.
â€œWe waited in line over two hours to cross the border and then waited another two hours for the stores to open. I have been shopping for hours, Iâ€™m exhausted,â€ said Carmen Tirado, Mexicali resident. â€œItâ€™s definitely worth it because in Mexicali things are so expensive that I would rather spend a day here and get more for my money.â€
According to the National Retail Federationâ€™s annual survey, nearly six in 10 Americans â€” an estimated 137.4 million people â€” plan to or are considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend. The numbers include in-store and online shopping from Thursday through Sunday. On Cyber Monday, 36 percent of consumers plan to shop online, up from 34 percent in 2015.Â
Black Friday is still the most popular day to shop across all age groups.