ALBANY, Ga. -- The lines snaked through parking lots, bent around buildings and stretched out to food courts. "Black Friday" had arrived, and it did so with gusto.
The official start of the holiday shopping season saw long lines, a smattering of rain and plenty of bargains for those willing to bide their time standing in queues to save money.
At 2:30 a.m., the line at Kohl's, three to four abreast, stretched all the way to the edge of the Carmike Theater. The store opened at 3 a.m.
Shae and Luke Pettit of Leesburg, standing at the front of the line, had been waiting patiently since before 10 p.m. Thursday and had spelled one another taking shifts in the queue.
"We're here for the deals on the children's clothes," Shae said. "The deals are good, the clothes are cheap and the kids go through them quickly."
Terry Speir of Leesburg, waiting just a few feet behind the Pettits, had been in line since 12:30 a.m.
"We came over from Toys R Us," Speir said. "I'm looking for a Discovery Kids Camera. It's regularly $79 and it's on sale for $24. Toys R Us was out of them. I think I can get one here and the savings make it worth the effort."
Daniel Walls and Austin Stone of Sylvester weren't worried about saving money.
"The women drug us here," Walls said. "But if I can get a Superman Snuggie, that would be cool."
"What are we doing here?" he said in response to being asked why he was standing on a sidewalk at 2:45 a.m. "I have no idea."
At the very end of the line stood Hayden Van Delsem and Adrian Gavre of Lee County.
"We're here to goof off, people watch, have fun and partake of the craziness. It's been insane," Van Delsem said. "I really don't know if it's worth it just to save a few dollars."
"We came here from Wal-Mart, it was really crazy there," Gavre said. "They had the break up a fight in that line."
At 3:30 a.m. at Target, the line snaked from the front doors along the front and down the side of the building and was just about to make a turn along the back wall at the freight loading area.
Debbie Hinman of Leesburg was with a group of six people at the doors. They'd been standing in line since 6 p.m. Thursday.
"We're here for the 40-inch LCD television at $250 off, which is a huge savings," Hinman said. "Overall it's been a good time, the people around us have been pretty good, but the police have been here twice dealing with people who have tried to cut in line."
Nick Hillary and his wife, Courtney, who had been at the store since 1 p.m., were in the middle of the line, and said that "blenders" were a problem.
"We call those people blenders," Hilliary said nodding toward a woman talking on a cellphone and standing next to the line towards the front. "They wait until the doors open and try to blend in with the crowd or make a rush for the doors.
"I'm here because of my wife, but I do hope to get one of those TVs. She picks and I pay for it."
Kesha and K.T. Turner of Tifton waited patiently at the back of the queue. The two had been shopping since 8 p.m. Thursday.
"We started at Toys R Us then went to Wal-Mart," Kesha said. "We've gotten everything we wanted except for the LeapStar 2 video game. I hope we can get it here."
"We're doing pretty good right now," K.T. added, " but if I ever sit down, it's over."
At 3:45 a.m. at the Albany Mall, the line waiting for Old Navy to open ran all the way down to the food court. An apparent miscommunication in opening times left some in line steaming.
"We've been here since 10 p.m. I want to get a game and do some personal shopping," Sumar Snapp of Albany, standing at the front of the line, said."The ad said they were supposed to open at 12, then they came out and said 3:30 but we're still waiting. It's been kind of confusing, but I'll still come back next year."
Just then a voice rang out from a few folks back: "Not me! I ain't coming back!"