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Holiday Shoppers Get An Even Earlier Start To The Black Friday Madness

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — It’s the quiet after the storm at stores across the U.S. after crowds of bargain shoppers battled it out for discount deals. Retailers bank on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the Black Friday madness.

Fortunately, everything ran smoothly here in Maryland. But that wasn’t the case at stores across the country.

Employees try to hold back rowdy crowds in Georgia, as they trample each other to get their hands on a tablet. A woman uses a taser on another shopper in a mall outside Philadelphia. Chaos breaks out at a North Carolina Walmart, as customers battle over doorbuster deals.

“I was just holding the camera up saying this is kind of crazy. And I kind of started to take the camera down when I heard everything going crazy,” said Brian Spain, who witnessed the fight.

No incidents were reported in Maryland, as the crowds turned out.

“Crazy because there is a lot of people and you have to be in line for so long,” said shopper Maria Meza.

All remained calm at Maryley Station Mall, as shoppers tried to hunt down bargains.

“We went into a store and bought leggings and a shirt and I think all together it was like $5,” shopper Megan Zucco said.

For store owners, like Marc Terry, this weekend is a vital way to predict holiday sales.

“It really kicks us off, gives us an idea of how we’re  going to do the rest of the way. And so far, it’s looking great,” he said.

Packed parking lots in White Marsh, as stores opened earlier than ever — on Thanksgiving Day.

“We had about 45 stores that opened at 8 p.m. last night and an additional 25 stores that opened at midnight,” said Annie Wildasin with White Marsh Mall.

And it appears it paid off. Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., Walmart sold 2 million televisions, 1.4 million tablets and 1.9 million dolls nationally. And the deals are expected to keep coming until Santa takes flight.

Some 97 million people were expected to shop on Black Friday alone.

Many people are also turning to the web for deals. Online sales for Thanksgiving Day totaled more than $1 billion — the highest number ever for the holiday.

Even though stores opened earlier Thursday, this is still the shortest holiday shopping season since 2002 because Thanksgiving fell so late on the calendar this year.

Analysts estimate the average shopper will spend more than $400 through this weekend.

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