Black Thursday outshines Friday (w/video)
In hot pink shirts and comfortable shoes, they descended upon Victoria.
Outside the Victoria Mall, tall signs advertised a message in bright orange letters: "Open. Stop in."
Black Friday came early again this year with 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and midnight store openings Thursday night.
"It was wall-to-wall with people in here last night," said J.C. Penney Co. manager Brian Patteson. "It was fantastic for business; we've far surpassed sales from last year."
Patteson said his store was fully staffed for the two-day shopping holiday.
Beth Moore, a Victoria stay-at-home mom, said she loves the yearly tradition but doesn't agree with Black Friday deals being offered Thursday evening rather than Friday morning as in the past.
"It's too early," she said. "I guess I like the anticipation."
A line of people stretched out of the Victoria Secret's entrance as shoppers awaited the store's midnight opening.
Maria Valdez, first in line at Victoria's Secret, said she heard things were intense when Victoria's Secret opened last year.
With a baby on the way, she said she hoped things remained calm this time around, so she and the little one stayed safe.
"I've heard they'll have extra security," she said. "I think it'll be better."
While sipping on sweet tea Friday morning, Texas A&M University freshman Travis Johnston, 19, of Victoria, held three large, heavy bags by his side.
"It shouldn't be called Black Friday anymore," said Travis, looking out onto the empty Victoria Mall hallway. "It should be called Black Thursday."
The late-night lines had dissipated once the sun was up - leaving Friday morning shoppers with plenty of room to breathe.
Johnston, who was also celebrating his birthday Friday, said the morning's shopping activity paled in comparison to Thursday night.
"I thought there was going to be more people," Johnston said. "Like last night, it was crazy. ... There was a line from the Target to the Denny's."
Christmas music played inside J.C. Penney.
A voice came over the intercom between songs, with a reminder about the department store's Black Friday deals.
Over by a table stacked with sterling silver rings, Julie Hubbard, 49, watched as her daughter modeled a ring on her finger.
"I've been very surprised that there's not more people out," Hubbard said. "We came last year, and it seemed like it was very crowded, very festive, and everyone was in a great mood. ... This year, it's a lot more serious shoppers, not as many smiles."
Read advice about shopping on Black Friday here.