MILLBURY, Mass. - Black Friday arrived in Central Massachusetts early this morning, and baby, it was cold outside!
Thousands of shoppers braved below freezing temperatures at Millbury's Blackstone Valley Shoppes, anxiously awaiting the 1 a.m. opening of the plaza's large retail stores.
From veteran shoppers to those experiencing Black Friday for the first time, everyone shared a upbeat perspective of the retail chaos.
“I'm here to just be part of it, and come out to see everyone going crazy,” said Austin Gary of Grafton.
Gary, who was wearing shorts in the wintry weather conditions, had a small shopping list for his first Black Friday adventure.
“I'm thinking about buying a [video] game, and I'm going to wander around to see if there's any good deals.”
For one group of Leicester shoppers, this year marked the 14th year in a row that they shopped on Black Friday. Their shopping lists have certainly changed as their children, nieces and nephews have gotten older.
By far, the most dedicated Black Friday shopper was Stephen Baroni of Worcester, who arrived at Best Buy at 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. Waiting at the front of the line, Baroni had his eyes set on one of the store's many television sales.
“[I have] mixed emotions, this is my first Black Friday, and it's going to be my last,” said Baroni.
Family and friends supported Baroni's extreme shopping plans, and even brought him Thanksgiving dinner while he spent nearly 24 hours outside of Best Buy. In return, Baroni made sure to keep those people in mind when entering the store.
“I'm getting gifts for some of the people I didn't see today,” Baroni added. “I'm getting some gifts for myself too.”
Televisions were the hot ticket item of the evening. Within minutes of entering the stores, shoppers carried huge flat screens TVs out the doors and to their cars. However, shoppers were equally enticed by the sales on iPads, computers and video game systems.
While some people were armed with shopping lists, others were just looking for the best sales.
At 12:15 a.m., Black Friday shoppers sitting at the end of Best Buy's line anxiously awaited the store's opening, but had no game plan for what purchases they would be making.