Black Friday actually started on Thursday for some of the tired-looking holiday shoppers at the Capital Mall on Olympia's west side.
Alexis Parker, a 14-year-old River Ridge High School student, yawned as she explained that she, her brother Austin, 16, and their mother, Andra Rainey, all drove down to the Tacoma Mall at 8 p.m Thursday and shopped there until 4 a.m. Friday
Alexis said Friday that all she, her mother and brother needed was a quick, four-hour nap, and then they were back at the Capital Mall, looking for deals.
"I'm kind of tired, but I'm going to get coffee," she said.
By Friday afternoon, Alexis and Austin Parker's mom, Andra, had an impressive list of purchases - a leather coat and a seven-piece luggage set from Macy's, three coats from J.C. Penney, two pairs of pajamas, three pairs of shoes, a bottle of cologne for her son and clothes from Forever 21 for her daughter.
"I'm not done yet," Andra Rainey said. She said she also planned to purchase a new pair of sneakers for her son.
"I did go nuts," Andra Rainey declared, both arms weighted down with shopping bags. "I spent, probably, a thousand dollars today. But the savings is twice that."
Father Carl Rainey, was sprawled on a bench at the mall Friday afternoon, shopping bags draped in his lap. He said he was waiting for his wife and son. He did not join the rest of the family at the Tacoma Mall Thursday night, but met his wife and children at the Capital Mall on Friday.
Carl Rainey deferred comment on how much he enjoys Black Friday and told a reporter to ask his daughter what she thought. Alexis Parker looked up from her game of Candy Crush, and confided that she enjoys Black Friday much more than Thanksgiving.
"It's fun and you get to go shopping," she said.
Some stores at the Capital Mall also got an early start on the holiday season. Bill Swanson, general manager of the Best Buy, said the store opened its doors at 6 p.m. Thursday, and was open all through the night. Popular items at the Best Buy include the XBox One, surface tablets and large TVs, he said. There had been no problems at the busy store, and employees were in good spirits, he added.
"The energy level's actually really pretty good right now," he said. "It's very smooth."
The rest of the mall opened at midnight Friday morning.
Betty Moe of McCleary was looking at computers at Best Buy Friday with her 5-year-old son, Tanner, who was dressed up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. "I figure if I'm going to take him out shopping, the least I can do is let him wear what he wants," she said. She added that they had been shopping in Olympia since 4:30 a.m. Friday.
Moe said bargain hunting is only part of the reason why she likes to hit the mall on Black Friday. "People watching," she said. "It's the Christmas spirit and it's fun to watch people."
Anthony Taing, 23, said for he and his wife Hilde, and their 2-year-old daughter, Jayleena, shopping on Black Friday is a holiday tradition. Taing said he had been shopping since 6 p.m. Thursday, except for a brief nap Friday morning.
"We went to sleep, now we're back at it," he said.
Heath Campo, a Best Buy employee, also said he'd been putting in long hours. "It's pretty hectic," he said. When asked how he was powering through the day, he answered, "energy drinks."
Two Olympia police officers strolling through the mall Friday said there had been no major incidents involving shoppers Thursday night through Friday afternoon. Officer Jeff Herbig, who normally patrols downtown Olympia on a bike, said he simply drove to the Capital Mall Friday to patrol the area on foot.
"I just moved my bike patrol up here," he said.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org