Stores opened earlier than ever for Black Friday deals in Columbia and shoppers were not deterred on Thanksgiving night.
Toys R Us at Harbison Boulevard opened at 8 p.m. and with more than an hour to go 150-plus people stood in line as workers from the nearby Sonic restaurant sold hot chocolate from a golf cart.
Jaered Shelton, the operations manager for the Sonic on Harbison Boulevard, said his workers had been out since 4 p.m. and planned to continue until 6 a.m. Friday, selling to customers up and down the busy retail corridor.
Greta Cross, of Richland County, was the first in line at Toys R Us, arriving at the store at 2:30 p.m. well before the hot chocolate. She was the first in line last year too, she said.
Im always the first one but the last one out, she said.
Being at the beginning at the line has its perks because the first bit of customers receives a toy bag worth about $30.
She planned on buying toys for the children in her family and a tablet for herself.
Im going to be a big kid this year, Cross said.
Shes spending a little more money this year than last year because she saved up throughout the year.
The wait is frustrating and she was anxious but, Its worth it because you get inside and get what you want, she said.
She said her son was at Best Buy and husband at Walmart.
Instead of having a long line outside of the store, Walmart had clusters of people around various pallets of products.
Walmart varied sales with Event 1 starting at 8 p.m., Event 2 at 10 p.m. and Event 3 at 5 a.m.
The more popular items included electronics, such as gaming systems, accessories and games.
David Paul Merritt, 42 of Swansea, and his son waited in a line near the crafts section to buy a Play Station 3.
Merritt had not participated in Black Friday since about 10 years ago when he went out at 2 a.m. for a sale.
The father and son planned on going to other stores after they got their Play Station 3 and then playing an NCAA Football game on their new console when they finished shopping.
Five minutes before the first sale, customers leaned on a pallet of games and accessories. They thought they had permission to begin shopping. They grabbed for the products leaning over one another until two police officers and an employee stopped them and told them to wait until exactly 8 p.m.
Once the time came they began getting the merchandise they wanted, more calmly this time.
Target opened at 9 p.m. and customers stood in the cold waiting for 50-inch TVs and more. The store barricaded the entrance with buggies and mandated a single file line before entering.
Target gave maps of the store where the more sought-after items were along the perimeters and buggies lined areas of the store for shoppers to grab.
Twenty minutes after opening the original line ended but people continued to enter the store and all 362 shopping carts the store had were in use.
At midnight, about 55 stores in Columbiana Centre mall opened and a flood of people swarmed Belk department store.
Many of the female shoppers went straight to the shoe section and grabbed four or five boxes of boots apiece.
Devan Quarles, 19 and a Hollister employee, stood shirtless in swim trunks outside of the store as girls had their picture made with him.
At midnight, his shift was just beginning and he had to work until 6 a.m.
He would get off work an hour after Walmarts third sale began.