Photo Gallery: Black Friday
Take a breath. You can wrap the presents later.
Black Friday shopping had many consumers worn out this year as the annual run on Christmas discounts kicked off early Thursday night throughout the region.
Just ask 15-year-old Maurice Umukero of Rancho Cucamonga.
The high school senior was tuckered out as he waited in line at JC Penny in Victoria Gardens on Friday morning.
Maurice was holding a bundle of pajamas. He had been waiting in line for about 30 minutes. There were about 40 people ahead of him. And 10 behind. His dad was shopping downstairs.
They got up at 4 a.m.
"I knew I was gonna come, but I didn't know it was gonna be that early," Maurice said.
His plans when he got home:
"Go to sleep," he said.
The holiday season's shopping traditionally starts the Friday after Thanksgiving - called Black Friday because it's when stores go in the black, or start making an annual profit.
Most large retailers this year started early on Thursday night.
That included shops at the Inland Center mall in San Bernardino, where folks started lining up at 7 p.m. to snag deals from places like Tilly's and Sears.
"I can tell you this is our second time doing Midnight Madness," said Terri Relf, marketing manager for the mall. "It was crazy. At midnight the mall was wall-to-wall people."
Relf said the mall doesn't disclose sales figures, but foot traffic was up.
The much-anticipated rush caused some shopping centers to take extra safety measures.
Officials at Ontario Mills Mall took a new approach in allowing customers to enter through one of the six main entrances only.
The move was an effort to help alleviate the influx of shoppers.
Overwhelming crowds two years ago forced officials to momentarily shut down all entrances at the height of pre-dawn shopping hours.
The Mills on Thursday saw lines for the entrances starting to form four hours before the opening and were said to be at least half a mile long.
"People drive from all around Southern California to be here first," said Masa Liles, spokeswoman for the Mills.
Liles attributed the significant discounts as the main draw.
Lawrence Martinez of Ontario said despite the best efforts by mall management, people were still pushing and shoving by the entrance near the food court.
"This is my first time and it's crazy," he said. "It's too much pushing and shoving, and I won't do (this) again."
As shoppers waited in line for deals, some admitted the increasingly earlier openings took away from Thanksgiving celebrations.
Lisa Mason of Fontana said she feels bad for the employees who have to come in earlier and don't get to enjoy their turkey feast.
"It keeps getting earlier," Mason said. "It's not even Black Friday anymore, it should be `Gray Thursday.' It's technically not even Friday."
Some shoppers arrived at the mall as early as 6 p.m. in order to get a good spot in line, including Mason and her daughter.
Major retailers more than a decade ago opened their doors around 6 a.m. on Black Friday, but over the past five years they started to move that up to 3 a.m. and even as early as midnight.
Ashley Collins and Shayna Webb of San Jacinto experienced their first Black Friday shopping at Citrus Plaza in Redlands.
They were in the dinnerware section of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Collins said she was warned about Black Friday:
"(They said) don't do it. You'll see the worst in humanity."
Maybe it was the combination of chilly weather and fatigue, but those who lined up at 6 a.m. outside Cost Plus World Market next door were well-behaved.
Ryan and Karen O'Connell of San Bernardino were shopping for stocking stuffers.
They had been up since 4 a.m. Ryan O'Connell already was wearing the pair of shoes he bought at Big 5 Sporting Goods.
He said the crowds hadn't been too bad.
"But we're not going to high-end stores," he said. "We're not camping out at Best Buy. We can get that stuff some other time."
Perhaps other shoppers felt the same way on a Black Friday that was underwhelming for some.
At Inland Center mall, Jenny Org, a perfume and cologne vendor, wrapped up a long night that didn't see the amount of sales she's accustomed to on the big shopping day.
The cheerful Org was heading home at 8:30 a.m. She was straightforward about the sales volume.
"This is the worst Black Friday ever," she said. "People didn't buy as much."
At Macy's, a 17-year-old DJ named Junior Guzman, who goes by "Megatone," had spun records since 1 a.m. with his older brother, who goes by "Minitone."
Junior was working on his first Red Bull energy drink. He expected to down two more.
The brothers were to play records until 7 p.m.
Junior said the crowds were big when he started early in the morning. There were rushes and lulls, he said.
But no fighting.
"Which is good," he said. "I don't wanna get my stuff messed up."
Reach Liset via email, call her at 909-483-8556, or find her on Twitter @DBOntarioNow.
Reach Joshvia email, call him at 909-386-3894.