Early shoppers leave Thanksgiving celebrations for Gray Thursday deals

Southport Meijer packed with shoppers

INDIANAPOLIS - Shoppers looking for a head start on deals without the hassle of the crowds took a break from Thanksgiving to hit the stores extra early Thursday.

In what's now been dubbed Gray Thursday, the day before the traditional start to the holiday shopping season on Black Friday, dozens of stores stayed open to greet the growing Thanksgiving crowd.

Black Friday ads, store hours

At the Meijer store in Southport, thousands of shoppers lined up starting at 2 a.m. for deals, mostly on electronics.

"It usually cost $60, but now it's $40," one shopper said.

"I can get $100 back, so it's worth coming out on Thanksgiving," another said.

Store director Dave Poletti said even though online shopping gets more and more popular each year, people still can't resist going to the stores.

"That really does not take the place of actually seeing the product, feeling the product, having it right there in your hands," he said. "What we're seeing is more educated shoppers. They're doing their homework. They know exactly what they want. They know what the best prices are."

Shopper Joy Nelsen said she loves that Thanksgiving Day isn't as hectic as Black Friday. She found dolls for her daughter that were sold out at two other stores.

"This is actually supposed to be, like, the No. 1 hot item, so I've got one," she said. "I said, I better get there before, otherwise they'll be picked clean."

Store managers expect shoppers to start lining up again at midnight for Black Friday deals.

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