BLACKFOOT—Traditional Black Friday shopping may have been a little less frenetic this year with so many stores opening up on Thanksgiving night and online retailers offering early discounts giving shoppers a jump on their bargain hunting.
Plenty of shoppers played along by hitting the Internet and the stores Thanksgiving night, but some retailers say, that by late Friday morning, traffic looked more like a regular Saturday afternoon that typical Black Friday frenzy, leaving one to wonder if the early sales knocked a bit of the wind out of Black Friday.
This is the second year that Bealls, one of Blackfoot's bigger chain stores, opened up on Thanksgiving night. Last year Bealls opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while this year they opened two hours earlier at 6 p.m.
Bealls store manager Cheryl Gertsch said that their Thanksgiving night sale went "very well."
"People showed up for our great 'door busters' on Thanksgiving Night; but our early morning 'door busters' were a little slower," she said. "But overall, traffic and sales have been steady."
C-A-L Ranch Store was one of the stores that did 'not' open on Thanksgiving night. The store opened at 6 a.m. with Blackfoot Friday specials going until noon.
Blackfoot C-A-L Ranch Store manager Travis Lyman, thinks that the Thanksgiving Day sales may have slowed business for retailers sticking to a traditional Blackfoot Friday.
"Our Black Friday morning was a little slower than usual; I think because we were competing with some of the Thanksgiving night sales," he said. "But, business picked up nicely later in the afternoon and things are going good."
Walmart is one of the retailers who started opening on Thanksgiving night a few years ago, enticing shoppers with hot deals, particularly on electronics.
"We did Walmart Thanksgiving Night at 6 p.m. and all I can say is 'Wow!' " said Stephanie Thomas of Blackfoot. "There are some pretty nutty people out there to get a sale. I wished I was a balloon so I could float to the top and get an aerial view of just how many people were in there."
Some shoppers simply chose to stay away from the stores on Thanksgiving and Blackfoot Friday.
"I didn't even consider going out shopping and won't for a few days until all the craziness settles down," Destiny Poole of Blackfoot.
Even more adamant was Wayne Thomson, who exclaimed, "I haven't been outside and I haven't even looked out my window."
However, procrastinators don't have quite as long to put off their shopping this year. Due to a fluke in the calendar, there will be few six less shopping day s this years, the lowest number of shopping days in a decade. As a result, retailers are expecting stores to be more crowded than ever.