Cedar Rapids Shoppers Head to Stores for Gray Thursday

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - People in Cedar Rapids were grabbing gifts at Black Friday prices on Thanksgiving, this year.

Stores like Target, Sears, and Walmart all had deals starting at eight p.m. or earlier for what's being called Gray Thursday.

At 3:00 Thursday afternoon, a long line had gathered in the Best Buy parking lot. Instead of getting their turkey on, the group was going shopping... in about three more hours.

"Save money, eat leftovers later," said Shopper Joshua Penley.

Penley had been at Best Buy since two a.m. He was eager to grab deals on discounted electronics, even though temps were as low as the prices.

"We got a couple chairs, tent and a propane powered heater," said Penley.

Those without propane were keeping warm by other means, some doing calisthenics. Justin Guler was going the old fashioned route, sweatshirt, coat, and blanket.

"The wind is the worst," said Guler.

Truth be told, he didn't want to be there.

"We had Thanksgiving for lunch. We planned it around this, which I think is not the best idea, but out here for the Microsoft Tablet," said Guler.

Yes, it seemed reviews of Gray Thursday were mixed. Some said they were only shopping out of necessity, fighting crowds to get what they wanted the holidays before it was too late.

Dan Rhoades grabbed a massive TV.

"It's a 55. I wanted a 50 inch, but my wife won," said Rhoades.

He got a deal, but he'd have rather been at home getting a nap.

"Probably wouldn't have come out, but the wife wanted to go... So I came along," said Rhoades.

But for all those that disliked the early Thanksgiving shopping hours, others said Gray Thursday is a better deal than Black Friday.

"I think it's a better idea for safety and stuff like that. Seems like everybody is pretty chill," said Shopper Tim McDonald.

It certainly paid off for Penley, who came away with a cart load.

"I got two TV's, two home theater systems," he said.

Gray Thursday kept him in the black come Friday morning.
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