The unofficial start of the holiday shopping season began on Thursday, when many national retailers opened their doors and offered major sales. It kicked into high gear on Friday, when many more stores entered the fray. We’re capturing the experience with reporters and photographers around the country, showing what it looks and feels like at American shopping malls, retailers and discount stores. You’ll also find:
■ Stories of shoppers and what brought them out to the stores.
■ Shopping deals from The Wirecutter, a product review and recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company.
■ Shopping by the numbers: history and facts about Black Friday, as the day after Thanksgiving is often called.
After working the overnight shift at Old Navy on 34th Street in Manhattan, Walter Reinoso hit the Foot Locker store at Union Square to get a pair of Air Jordan 3S True Blues he had been waiting for. His approach mixed the modern (ordering online) with the past (showing up in a store to get them).
“They originally came out in 1988 and are really hard to find. I had to reserve them on the app. I haven’t bought a pair of Jordans in a very long time. This silhouette is iconic,” Mr. Reinoso said while proudly holding up the size 9½ midtops. “I like that these are the original colors: white, red and blue. I got them for $249. They are usually much more.”
Describing himself as a shoe enthusiast rather than a guy with a shoe fetish, Mr. Reinoso, 19, of East New York, Brooklyn, along with his friend, Cindy Ortiz, 18, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, were heading to the store Dover Market to check out more footwear, preferably pairs of Vans and Converse. Mr. Reinoso had some more cash to spend — $300 in his pocket — but said he would rather not spend it all. “I don’t want to,” he said, “but may be tempted.”
— RUTH BASHINSKY
The process, and subsequent bonding experience, of getting a tattoo can create a lasting impression on customers.
“Black Friday, for us, is more than an exciting retail day, it’s more of a way of giving back to our clients,” Mr. Smith said. “The unique thing about getting a tattoo, when you share that with someone as an artist, is that they are with you forever.”
Mr. Smith’s first appointment of the day, Ryan Wills, has his Black Friday mapped out. After scouring electronics stores for audio car-system deals and crashing a few big-box stores for door buster sales, Mr. Wills plans to spend a few Black Friday hours in the black padded chair at Tatt Life to finish his extensive “Deadpool”-inspired canvas.
“I follow Tatt Life Studios on Facebook and couldn’t resist the chance to get my leg piece finished,” Mr. Wills, a 27-year-old mechanic, said. “I have several Marvel tattoos on my body including an Iron Man piece as well as a ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ collage, both done by Smitty.”
— KIMBERLEY MCGEE
Sierra Sproul, a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher in Austin, Tex., had a special incentive to take advantage of Black Friday discounts at her local boot retailer: her coming Western-themed wedding on April 8.
“I’m very excited,” she said, beaming as she and her mother wrapped up a purchase of brown floral Corral-brand boots (which came to $199 after a 20 percent discount).
In all, the pair spent more than $500 at Cavender’s Boot City in north Austin after adding a $180 hat and $159 boots for her fiancé, Shane McPherson, whom Ms. Sproul lovingly described as “very country.”
She and her mother said they had purposely waited for Black Friday to offset wedding costs with hefty discounts.
“If we can get boots for a percentage off, that’s good because they don’t go on sale very often,” Ms. Sproul said.
Many of the other customers in the store were looking at western items as likely Christmas gifts, according to Robert Garcia, the store’s manager.