'Gray Thursday' the new Black Friday?

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - For some families Black Friday has become as much of a holiday tradition as turkey dinner itself.

But this year, Black Friday has become old fashioned. Welcome to what's being called "Grey Thursday".

The Kmart in Hollywood opened at 6am Thanksgiving morning to a swarm of shoppers who camped out overnight in hopes of snagging one of the store's discounted televisions.

In this troubled economy with a fiscal cliff on the horizon it's no wonder Black Friday actually began on Thursday. Retailers are extending opportunities for cash-strapped consumers in hopes of boosting sales.

The National Retail Federation anticipates147 million people will hit shopping malls and stores this weekend. That's a drop of 5 million people compared to last year and so stores opened earlier than ever.

The shopping craze is gobbling up Thanksgiving and Jay Feldman is hoping it's an event that does not become a new holiday tradition.

"I've never been a fan of Black Friday so black Thursday means even less to me," said Feldman, "Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, to hell with shopping we come here."

"Here" is the guest house Feldman and his partner John Thorpe rented to host a Thanksgiving brunch for 100 friends. The pair are resisting the encroaching commercialism, holding steady to the idea that Thanksgiving should be about family, friends and giving thanks.

Guests were asked to bring canned goods for a food drive benefitting the Poverello Center in Wilton Manors.

"We are hoping to donate about 30 bags of food this year," said Thorpe, "Thanksgiving is such a great holiday and unique to America, this is really about being close to those in your life and helping people in need."

But Local 10 met one woman who taught us this isnt' a zero-sum game, you can have your turkey and eat it too!

We met Tavonea Griffin outside a Big Lots in Hallandale Beach. She couldn't resist "Grey Thursday's" big deals.

"The deals they were having, my kids wanted boots so I said girls we are going to get you boots!"

Griffin is a mom who has mastered holiday multitasking, cooking on Wednesday to shop on Thursday. She rattled off the yummy dishes, "ham, turkey, collared greens, rice, sweet potato pie."

She walked away from Big Lots with the bargain-priced boots her daughters wanted for Christmas while Thanksgiving dinner was ready to go waiting for her on the stove.

Call it what you want, "Grey Thursday" or "Black Friday", economists will be watching what consumers spend over these next couple of days very closely as it is considered an early indication of consumer confidence and predictor of not just how the rest of the holiday shopping season will go but future spending.

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