ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) — In the pre-dawn hours Friday, as some early-rising shoppers were heading into malls in search of Black Friday deals, others had been up shopping all night in stores that opened the evening of Thanksgiving or at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
In Atlanta’s northern suburbs, North Point Mall in Alpharetta had the feel of an airport terminal before sunrise, with some gates open, others closed and many shoppers slowly shuffling along, bleary-eyed.
Jessica Astalos, 20, was resting in the mall’s food court at 5:30 a.m. She had left home around 11:30 p.m. the night before and shopped all night. But many shoppers give up their sleep for the experience, as well as the deals.
“It’s the atmosphere – I like being around crowds of people all doing the same thing,” said Dalton Mason, 22, of Stockbridge, who was also shopping at North Point before sunrise Friday.
Curtis Akins, 51, made the three-hour drive from his home in the south Georgia town of Tifton to watch the annual Macy’s tree lighting ceremony at Lenox Square in Atlanta on Thanksgiving. Macy’s at Lenox Square opened for shoppers at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and the rest of the mall opened at midnight.
Shortly after 5 a.m. Friday, Akins was sitting on a bench – looking slightly exhausted — inside North Point as his wife shopped for deals. He thinks the marathon store hours of Black Friday might eventually come to an end.
“I think it’s going to end because it’s taking away from the traditional Thanksgiving,” he said.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)