Hundreds of shoppers rushed into the Kohl's at Stonewood Center in Downey, quickly nabbing all of the available shopping carts as they took off in their search for discounts. Everyone else was left to carry their merchandise in Kohl's shopping bags.
Jose Castro of Montebello said discounts were especially important to him this year because he started a new job as a factory worker packaging shrimp, a position that pays minimum wage.
"Right now I can't be spending like I spent last year," the 48-year-old said.
He also liked that Kohl's got a jump on
"This way I don't have to lose my sleep in order to go shopping for deals," he said.
Not everyone was in a good mood.
"You don't have to push," one customer yelled to another who rushed by. "You pushed her."
At one point, one of the Kohl's checkout lines wrapped halfway around the store.
Over at the Target in Eagle Rock, the crowd had grown to about 1,000 people by 8 p.m.
As the doors opened, shoppers were greeted with high fives from Target workers who also cheered "Happy Thanksgiving!" One employee called it the "Super Bowl Thursday for Target."
Lines quickly formed for iPads at the back of the store, and like at Kohl's, Target soon ran out of shopping carts, leading to a mad dash for baskets. Some shopping carts were pre-loaded with 40-inch Element televisions.
Mario Rivera, 51, arrived at Target with his 8-year-old daughter Noemi and 10-year-old son Benicio. He said Thanksgiving night shopping was "quality time with the kids."
"I have to get out of the house or else I will turn into a couch potato," the auto body shop owner from Highland Park said.
Rivera was buying a
Rivera was also hoping to be one of about 100 people to score a 40-inch Westinghouse television for $200. The TV would replace a 32-inch unit that his wife bought during Black Friday three years ago.
"Business is better at the auto shop," Rivera said. "We can get something bigger now."
Despite showing up to shop on Thanksgiving evening, some Target customers said they weren't taking it too seriously.
Instead of joining the hundreds of people waiting in line, Ramirez, 56, waited in her car until the crowd dwindled. She does the same thing every year and planned to come back in the morning to see what was left.
"I come with the attitude, 'If I get it fine, if I don't, fine,'" she said. "I don't do the standing in line outside, and this year the line looked really crazy. Maybe the economy's picking up."
Other major chain stores, including Macy's and JCPenney, also opened at 8 p.m.
Times staff writer Andrea Chang contributed to this report.