Store manager John Shy was excited as he watched the lights of nearly 40 Walmart Supercenter check-out stands guide hundreds of Black Friday shoppers on Thanksgiving night.
"The community has given us a very good reception since we opened two months ago," said Shy, as he assisted shoppers inside the packed store in Hesperia. "We've exceeded all of our original sales projections."
Two hours before the store's 8 p.m. opening, shoppers were forced to park across the street from Walmart Supercenter when the parking lot was filled to capacity.
As the army of orderly shoppers checked out, a disgruntled Renee Roulet was at the back of the store waiting for her promised LG Optimus Logic cell phone along with 30 other shoppers.
"First they said they're coming, then they said they never had them in stock," Roulet said. "This is the first time we've ever had a problem with Walmart."
Walmart U.S. reported its best ever Black Friday, with nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items processed per second during the 8 p.m. through midnight window.
Across the freeway, it was the calm before the storm inside the Super Target, as store associates prepared to open the doors at 9 p.m.
"We're letting 37 people in at a time, so we plan on a safe, secure and rush-free event," said Emily Reaber, executive team leader of asset protection, as she handed out store maps outside. "This is my first Black Friday, so I'm excited."
When the doors finally opened, Dani Moore's 15-hour wait at the head of the line was finally over.
"I've been doing this for 18 years, and every year I make new friends," said a bundled-up Moore, as she prepared her wheelchair for action. "We shop based on what we need, and this year it's a 32-inch Apex LED TV for $147."
As the growing line of nearly 500 people slowly made its way into the store, Sharon Greenough and her husband, Tom, watched from the sidelines.
"I'm waiting for the line to shrink a bit," said Greenough, while she kept warm in her Pittsburgh Steeler jacket. "We're here to get three iPod Touches for our three daughters, if there's any left."
Greenough, a Black Friday veteran of more than 15 years, said she did not like the commercialism of the holiday season.
"And here I am, violating the very thing I believe in," Greenough said. "Plain and simple, the holiday season is about Jesus Christ and not shopping, but sometimes we get wrapped up in all the shopping hype."
After a few minutes, a parade of TVs emerged from Target, with customers wheeling their technological prizes to their vehicles.
"Well, I finally got my 50-inch TV, and it was worth the wait," Josh Flores, 27, said. "I've been doing Black Friday since I was 7 years old and this is the biggest thing I've bought."
During the evening, Black Friday shoppers updated their experience on Facebook, including Katharine Hadley Bramblett, who visited several stores on Thursday and Friday.
"The registers at the Hesperia Kmart on Main Street were down for about 20 minutes and people seemed agitated and impatient," Bramblett posted. "I noticed several people leave the store, some were in line and left as well. The store over all seemed disorganized and crowded, everyone seemed a little lost."
During her shopping adventure, Bramblett said she heard of two ladies coming to fisticuffs over a doll house at one local Walmart.
"People are just too crazed. It's a sale, not the end of the world," Bramblett said.
As Best Buy employees prepared to open at midnight, the line stretched around the Victorville store as a strolling band entertained the crowd and the Riverside Prep booster club sold snacks outside.
While shoppers frantically looked for parking, Diane Lopez sold coffee and pastries outside Farmer Boys Restaurant, as she tried to raise funds to cover her grandmother's funeral.
"Her name was Vera Feragosa, and she was 80 years old when she died last month," Lopez said. "We have a $7,000 financial burden to pay, so please excuse me if I'm not in shopping mood."
Brian Zierdt, a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Apple Valley station, said everything was running smoothly at the Apple Valley Best Buy.
"We've had a few calls around town, but nothing major," said Zierdt, as he stood at the store's exit wishing customers a happy holiday.
As Michael Whisman, 20, waited in line with his tower of 24 Blue-ray discs, his fiancee, Marie Rogers, stood next to him empty handed.
"I'm here simply for encouragement and to offer moral support," Rogers said. "I'm just glad it's over."
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.