Despite dropping temperatures, Black Friday shoppers, hopeful of grabbing some great deals, started lining up at Toys R Us in Lake Grove at 7 p.m. They sat in lawn chairs, advertisements in hand, mapping out their course of action once the doors open at 9 p.m.
Shoppers, many standing for two hours, were in great spirits, chatting with fellow shoppers, talking about their children and the kids' favorite shows. A coffee truck showed up as the line began to swell as far as Bally's Total Fitness, and many hopped off line to get their caffeine fix.
Cheers rang through the crowd as Toys R Us employees brought out the shopping carts at 8:30 — a half an hour left to wait on line.
At 9 p.m. on the dot, employees opened the door, allowing only 50 in at a time. However, despite the coordinated effort by store employees, some holding balloons to mark a line to the registers, mayhem ensued. Shoppers swerved through the cramped aisles, grabbing at sale items and then attempted to make their way to the back of the store where the cashier line began. They weaved through aisles where shoppers were attempting to maneuver their carts. A second line, to electronics department backed into the cashier line, causing confusion.
But, shoppers still remained calm, with the exception of one woman, who started kicking boxes, yelling for a manager because there was too much confusion. Others stopped to help fellow shoppers get things off the top shelves or pick up an item that fell out of their cart.
At Walmart is Islandia, shoppers started lining up at 9 p.m. with doors expected to open at 10 p.m. To their surprise, employees welcomed shoppers in, a few at a time, starting at 9 p.m. The line to get in, however, grew by the second, reaching around the building by 10 p.m.
And while shoppers continued to file into Toys R Us and Walmart, others started lining up in Target and Best Buy in Centereach. By 10 p.m., the line for Target stretched to the left of the building. At Best Buy, the line ran past Home Depot.
Those on line at Target were in the holiday spirit, wishing each other happy shopping just before midnight when the doors were set to open. A security team from Target walked down the line, issuing instructions to shoppers: "No running, no pushing, no shoving or you will be immediately ejected."
The doors opened and the line started to move, "hovers," as one woman called them, tried to break into the line from across the street. But those who stood online for two hours or more weren't having it and a yell of "cutters" rang out. Security immediately pulled out those who were attempting to break into the line.
Inside the store, employees directed shoppers to follow a path around the store so the electronics department would not get bombarded. The toy section was jam packed with parents swiping sale items off end caps and making a run for the next item.
Employees had the cashier line under control with two lines sweeping down the main aisles of the store and one employee directed shoppers to the cashiers. Most were in and out of the store in an hour and headed off to grab some deals at other area stores. As they finished their shopping in the wee hours of the morning, big box store employees got ready to welcome the early birds, who were just rising.
Did you hit the stores at midnight? Tell us about your experience in comments.