SACRAMENTO - An estimated 7,500 people were on hand when Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento opened its doors on Black Friday.
By noon, 20,000 had crowded into the mall, including Nathaniel Allen.
"Actually, I was pleased there wasn't a lot of people here," Allen said.
Allen is in the U.S. Army Reserve and this was his first time taking part in annual day-after-Thanksgiving shopping tradition.
"I'm getting ready to deploy overseas in a couple of months. This is the last Christmas with my family for a while so I decided to bring them out and let them go for it," he said.
Allen's son had already picked out some new basketball shoes.
"I picked them because they looked cool to me," Nathaniel Allen III declared.
Deals abound around the mall. To encourage people to shop early, some discounts ended at noon or 1 p.m.