SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — Doors at stores opened earlier than ever this Thanksgiving. At Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise many stores opened at 6 pm and lines of customers arrived to greet store employees.

The parking lots were so full that at least person tried to entice shoppers to fork over $20 to park nearby.

Shoppers like Liz Owen said she came for the deals and something else.

“I like the excitement,” she said.

But some believe all this shopping comes at a cost — to family and tradition.

Rather than listening to scanners beeping and shopping bags opening, Randi Zaitz listened to the sound of her family’s laughter at dinner at Lester’s Diner. She’s not a fan of stores opening on Thanksgiving.

“I don’t like it,” she said. “It defeats the purpose of Thanksgiving.”

Zaitz believes Thanksgiving should be reserved solely for family and friends and that store employees shouldn’t have to work so they can be with their families. She says shopping can wait.

“There’s not a lot of time that families can be together,” she said. “It’s one of the times you can count on.”

On Facebook, tens of thousands of people like a page trying to convince shoppers to stay home on Thanksgiving.

But the number of people filing into Sawgrass Mills Mall tells a different story. Clearly if stores open their doors with the promise of savings, shoppers will show up.

The Bassart family says the solution might be to just bring the whole family shopping.

“I don’t think we would’ve done it without the family because then it would be taking time away from the family but if you’re all out here having the adventure together it’s just another part of the family experience,” said Jodi Bassart.

For some it’s clear that shopping on Thanksgiving is becoming part of their holiday tradition.This holiday shopping season is more important than usual for retailers. Thanksgiving is late this year which cuts down on the number of shopping days until Christmas.

At Sawgrass Mills the shopping marathon is underway as many of these stores will be open until Friday night.


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