RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – James Kay knew where he was headed after finishing his Thanksgiving dinner.
About 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, he headed down to Game Stop on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh.
“I wanted a Play Station 5,” he said.
Kay was not alone. A line of customers curled around the front of the building leading up to the store’s 5 p.m. Thanksgiving day opening.
In past years, Game Stop would have been among a slew of retailers opening their doors on the holiday for early Black Friday shopping.
But 2021 is different. The majority of major retailers stayed closed on Thanksgiving night in 2021 – similar to what happened in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor at play.
At Best Buy in Raleigh, CBS 17 found fences set up in preparation for early Friday morning shoppers – but the sign on the front door clearly indicated the store was closed Thanksgiving and opening at 5 a.m. Friday.
At Target in North Hills, the parking lot was also empty. That retailer recently announced plans to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day permanently, according to the Associated Press.
It’s a big change from the Thursday evening crowds that filled retailers on Thanksgiving night in past years.
Shoppers at Game Stop Thursday admitted it was a trade-off between their excitement to get a jump start on holiday shopping, and the impact on employees who have to work Thanksgiving Day hours at stores that open early.
“It sucks for those that have to come to work, but then there’s those that want to get in on Black Friday early,” shopper Antwon Moss said. “So this is an advantage to take.”