Steamboat Springs At 5:50 a.m., the vestibule of Wal-Mart looked like the ticket line of a Rolling Stones concert.
"They promised not to trample me when I opened the doors (at 6 a.m.)," said Wal-Mart store manager Mark Meade. On the day after Thanksgiving, known as the biggest shopping day of the year, Wal-Mart ran a series of specials until 11 a.m. and opened early. It advertised 27-inch televisions at $149.
"We ran out of televisions at four minutes after seven," Meade said.
They advertised sewing machines for $98 apiece. Sewing machines were gone by 6:30 a.m.
By 3 in the afternoon, shelves were looking bare, especially in the toy department.
Shelley Isaac stood in front of an empty shelf with a stunned look on her face.
"Oh," she said. "I forgot it was the day after Thanksgiving."
Meanwhile, shoppers were out in force downtown, but the atmosphere was nowhere near the mania of the big-box store.
Chez Nous saw a steady stream of customers all day, storeowner De Taylor said.
"There are more guests in town than there were last year," she said.
"I've been pleasantly surprised," said Liz Williams, store manager of The Red Horse, "but most people were just window shopping."
"I saw a lot of husbands walking around with wives," she said. "Wives were nudging their husbands with elbows and pointing out the things they want with little elbow nudges."
Three women who were window shopping on Lincoln Avenue agreed with Williams.
"I've been in a few stores where it was hard to move around," said Craig resident Kathy Osborn. "But I didn't see that many people at the registers. Most people are out getting ideas."
Osborn herself does most of her shopping on the Internet, she said. On Friday, her bags were full of stocking stuffers and a pair of pajamas for her dog.