SALEM, N.H. — We may live in the age of the internet, but many shoppers skipped the online sales in favor of the in-person doorbusters at the Mall at Rockingham Park early on Black Friday.

“We have to touch it and feel it and see it,” said Sue Uzdavinis who has gone Black Friday shopping locally with her family for more than 30 years. “And then go on the internet.”

There was no fighting for parking spots, no stampeding electronics stores, no running to beat the crowds. In fact, there was hardly a crowd at all when the mall opened its doors at 6 a.m. Most people seem to shop from the comfort of their homes, but some shoppers continue to wake up before the crack of dawn to hunt for sales.

“It’s a tradition,” said Mary Ann Reiss, who lives in Florida but grew up in Greater Boston. “We have been doing it forever with our mother.”

Reiss and her two sisters, who live in Deerfield and Haverhill, remember going into Boston in the early morning hours of Black Friday when they were young. Now, they browse the Rockingham Mall in search of gifts for their grandchildren.

A small line formed outside of GameStop just before they opened their doors, where Loretta Lenahan stopped to rest after a long night of shopping.

“We’ve been shopping since 9 p.m. last night!” she said, clutching shopping bags with both hands. Lenehan said she was disappointed with some of the deals this year, but she managed to get a few video games for a good price.

Eric Liles, who was in line at GameStop, also had a long night of shopping.

“For me it's just a tradition,” he said, noting that he usually starts shopping at 3 or 4 a.m. “I have always gone out Black Friday.”

When the gates to GameStop opened, the small crowd outside surged in. Each person seemed to know exactly what they were looking for and grabbed it in seconds.

Shoppers repeatedly said that, over the years, Black Friday has evolved. Gone are the days of stress and stampedes. The early hours of Black Friday at the mall are now relatively quiet. Some shoppers attributed the change to stores extending sales through the weekend.

“It used to be fun when they started in the morning,” said Shawn Tremblay, who came with his wife Ari and children. “When it started creeping back into Thanksgiving, I lost interest.”

Black Friday may be changing, with internet deals and extended sales. However, many longtime Black Friday shoppers said they won't be changing their ways — they’ll be back next year.


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