Grey Thursday Hits Bay Area, More Stores Opening on Thanksgiving Night

More than a dozen retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving this year.

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    Black Friday being the first Christmas shopping day may be a thing of the past. NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang reports. (Published Friday, Nov. 29, 2013)

    Black Friday being the first Christmas shopping day may be a thing of the past.

    Many big retailers opened their doors earlier tonight, and the shoppers came swarming in looking for hot deals on Grey Thursday.

    More Bay Area Retailers Opening on Thanksgiving Night

    [BAY] More Bay Area Retailers Opening on Thanksgiving Night
    Black Friday or Grey Thursday? NBC Bay Area’s Stephanie Chuang reports from one of the hot spots—the Macys at Valley Fair. (Published Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013)

    The decision to leave the family or bring the family is becoming a strange new reality on Thanksgiving.

    Macy’s is breaking a 155-year tradition by opening on Thanksgiving night at 8 p.m this year. Lights on and people coming in and going out at the department store did not happen until midnight Black Friday morning last year.

    Shoppers Crowd Bay Area Malls on Black Friday

    [BAY] Shoppers Crowd Bay Area Malls on Black Friday
    Shoppers were out in full force on Black Friday, but not just at big box stores. They flocked to the malls too. NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama reports from the Great Mall in Milpitas. (Published Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013)

    At the Macy's at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, people were coming in and out of the store with a smile, a bag, or boxes piled up.

    Divya Srivastava was the first in line three hours before the Valley Fair Macy's opened. She was with her three-year-old child.

    "I'm happy I'm first," Srivastava said. "So I got first. I'm so excited!"

    Srivastava waited in the dark to be the first to nab deals up to 75-percent off.

    "Everything--I'm missing everything," she said. "Lunch, dinner, I'm not preparing anything because of these Macy's deals."

    Meanwhile, at the Toys R Us on Winchester Avenue in San Jose, doors opened at 5 p.m. Thursday night. The Nunez family got there four hours early to get a deal for a Nintendo WII.

    "It's $299, but since we're like the first ones here, we're getting a little discount," shopper Candelaria Nunez said. "Do you know how much? About $40."

    Kundan Madhav was second in line.

    He said stores opening earlier on Thanksgiving saves people like him from wasting a full night waiting in line for holiday deals.

    Plus, he said people can celebrate with a feast on Black Friday.

    "They can have all the deals," Madhav said. "What they want, they can get today, and tomorrow, they can enjoy [the] holiday."

    Over at the Best Buy on Almaden Expressway in South San Jose, one man says he camped out there for seven days with a tent for deals, like $500 off a 65-inch LED television.

    "I've been coming here for three years, so everybody knows me and I kinda regulate everything here with the lines keeping, making sure everything going smooth," shopper Miguel Anguiano said.

    The Grey Thursday buzz has not come without backlash. A Facebook Page, called "Say No to Shopping on Thanksgiving," has nearly 60,000 likes.

    And nearly one million Facebook users also shared a badge that read in part, "Because I believe in my family, I pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving."

    But one dad said waiting and skipping a traditional Thanksgiving meal was worth it because he gets to see his son happy--getting what he wanted and early.

    Three states--Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts--have laws prohibiting big box stores, large supermarkets, and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving.

    One estimate said 33 million people planned to shop on Thanksgiving this year. That is nearly one quarter of the people who said they would shop sometime between Thursday and Sunday.