Call it a new Thanksgiving tradition.
“We actually had more of a lunch Thanksgiving and we had it around noon,” said Abby Torry of Los Angeles, who we met waiting in line for Hollister to open at Westfield Mall in Palm Desert.
During dinner time, tens of thousands of shoppers are hitting the mall to fork over cash with one thing in mind:
“The really good deals,” said Dana Hullett of Palm Desert.
“We like some good deals if they have some,” said Norma Dimaculangan of Vancouver, Canada.
“I guess for the deals,” said Henry Mack of Las Vegas.
Nationwide sales are expected to top $2.5 billion this year just on Thanksgiving Day, and stores are doing a great job luring customers in with deep discounts: as much as 60 or 70% off storewide.
“I’m here to buy some stuff for my parents,” said Riley Hagar of Palm Springs.
“Boots for my wife,” said Rafugo Diaz of Indio.
“A food processor so I’m hoping I get some kind of deal on it,” Mack said.
“And jewelry as well, we always check out the jewelry,” Hullett said.
Many stores are even going high-tech, offering freebies if you download the store’s app and use it while you shop.
“You scan the QR codes in the store and you can win gift cards every hour all the way through Saturday,” said Scott Wetter, general manager of Macy’s at Westfield.
And big deals mean big crowds, so Westfield hired an extra 200 employees just for Black Friday weekend. The mall expects between 50,000 and 60,000 shoppers between now and Sunday.
Stores say the seasonal employees are more than happy to work Thanksgiving and make some extra cash for their own holiday shopping.
“We asked for volunteers so everyone that’s here tonight wanted to be here, which is really nice,” Wetter said.