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Black Friday: A look back at one of America’s most chaotic holiday traditions

Black Friday Sales
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Deal seekers.
By Johnny Simon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

After the Thanksgiving turkey is cleared from tables across the US, millions of shoppers will line up at malls and big box stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy for the pre-dawn shopping bacchanal known as Black Friday.

It’s long been thought of as the “biggest shopping day of the year,” but its importance may be waning as consumers choose to stay home and shop online, and retailers are offering deals spread around the holiday season, sometimes even before Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, for many it’s still an event worth fighting turmoil and anarchy for.

If these chaotic scenes might be a bit too much to handle on a full stomach, perhaps you should just go for a walk.

Reuters/Kimberly White
Shoppers run through the doors of a Walmart store in Oakland, Calif. in 2008.
Reuters/Chris Keane
Shoppers make their way into an Old Navy store at Concord Mills Mall in Concord, North Carolina in 2008.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
A line outside a Target in South Portland, Maine in 2014.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Shoppers wait in the checkout line during a Black Friday sale at Nebraska Furniture Mart in Kansas City, Kan. in 2009.
John Amis/AP Images For Macy's
The crowd outside of a Macy’s in Atlanta, Georgia in 2013.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File
A packed mall in Brea, Calif. in 2013.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Best Buy employees rally after a pep talk at a store in Overland Park, Kansas in 2013
John Minchillo/AP Images for Target
Customers enter a store in Harlem, New York City in 2014.
Paul Abell/AP Images for Macy's
People waiting for a Macy’s in Atlanta, Georgia  to open for Black Friday in 2013.
Reuters/Eric Thayer
Customers shop at Macy’s flagship location in New York City in 2011.
Reuters/Stephen Lam
A man pushes a flat-screen television inside a Best Buy in San Francisco, Calif. in 2012.
Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn
A crowd of shoppers at a Target in Burbank, Calif. in 2012.
Reuters/Andrew Kelly
People sort through boxes of shoes in Macy’s flagship New York City location in 2014.
Reuters/Carlos Barria
A woman sleeps after shopping at the Dadeland Mall in Miami, Florida, in 2008.

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