MINNEAPOLIS - Retailers across the Metro Friday reported brisk sales and crowded parking lots on the first official shopping day of the 2012 holiday season.
Many analysts expect that one-half of Americans will do some shopping, in stores or online, by Sunday reflecting growing consumer confidence.
The Mall of America reported 30,000 customers at its midnight events, compared to 20,000 in 2011.
The so-called "door-buster deals" drew shoppers to big box retailers in a rush that actually began Thursday night for those who wanted an early start on what has become known as Black Friday.
While shopping after Thanksgiving has become somewhat of an American cultural cliché, people who paused to speak to KARE at Ridgedale Mall Friday gave a variety of reasons for jumping into the fray.
"Actually, he woke me up this morning and said let's go shopping," Amelia Goings told KARE, pointing at her husband Jason.
"I did it because I know she wanted to go shopping," Jason explained, with a chuckle.
While some determined shoppers clearly had a gift-giving check list, and weren't about be taken off task, others drifted along more in a more relaxed mode taking in the spectacle.
"We always like shopping," Chloe Engels told KARE. "But this is just a better day because there's so many people, so much buzz here today."
Engels said she wasn't sure why the day after Thanksgiving became known as Black Friday.
"I'm just guessing, but maybe because people go really early when it's dark?"
The most common explanation is that it's the day that retailers clearly begin operating in the black on their ledger sheets, and start making a profit after 11 months of just breaking even or worse.
It's easy to see; however, how the term can be confusing considering that Black Monday has negative connotation. That was the moniker the label makers slapped on October 19, 1987 - the day the stock market lost 22 percent of its value in one trading session.
But Chloe was right about one thing. It was definitely dark outside when people started lining up Thursday night.
Some discount giants, including Target and Walmart, opened their doors at 8 p.m. Thursday, for those willing to get a jump start.
"We splurged and bought an early holiday present for each other by buying an iPad, and with the early holiday price matching, it was a deal we finally couldn't turn down," Robin Bass of Plymouth told KARE.
Huge deals on selected electronics items attracted those early shoppers in droves. Some seemed to be speaking another language, one filled with references to high definition TV sets and video games.
"We got an amazing deal on this 40 inch LCD 1080p HD television," said one happy shopper leaving Target. "We also an amazing deal on X-box Black Ops Two and PS3 Black Ops Two."
At a nearby Best Buy shoppers were bundled up, dealing with icy snow and frosty winds.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Derek Agate of Minnetonka told KARE as he stood in line waiting for Best Buy to open at midnight. "So I'm out here braving the cold. I'm looking for a 32-inch flat screen TV."
It's an early bird game not everyone's willing to play, but those who did seemed to have no regrets.
"It's so worth it. It's worth it," one young couple outside Best Buy said in unison. "We've got dad's credit card."
And, for what it's worth, the stock market also rallied on Black Friday. The Dow Jones Average gained 172 points and finished above 13,000 for the first time since the election Nov. 6.
(Copyright KARE 2012. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)