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Black Friday Sales
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Deal seekers.
SHOP TIL YOU DROP

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

By Johnny Simon

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.

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