PLEASANT HILL, Calif. - The Thanksgiving table was barely cleared and the rush was on.
Many major retailers opened at 5 p.m. Thursday for early "Black Friday" deals and door busters.
And shoppers did their part.
At the Target store in Pleasant Hill, hundreds of people were waiting in line when the doors opened.
Moments before employees huddled for an enthusiastic "three, two, one" countdown and posed for group selfie.
"I just came down to be a part of it, the big rush," Chris Smith of Vallejo told KTVU, as he pondered toy choices for his 3-year-old daughter.
"Should I get her the Barbie Care Clinic or the Barbie camper?," he wondered aloud, " it's a a tough choice, and important."
Many people who flooded stores like Best Buy and Target had no doubt what they wanted.
"Yeah, I'm here for the 55-inch TV. for $199," said Stephanie Carr of Martinez, "that's why we made the trip."
With the electronics department already congested, Target had dozens of televisions lined up among the frozen food and groceries.
"We got a ton of shipment in for today, and these are probably the best deals you're going to see all year," said Pleasant Hill store Director Melissa Jecmen, a veteran of 10 Black Fridays at her Target store.
She notes, many shoppers are jumping on early online deals, but for some, there is no substitute for braving the crowds.
"The guests are really excited and it's not really a competitive thing," said Jecmen, "because everybody is here to have a good time, get what they want, and go back home to their families."
Often, though, the excursions are a family endeavor.
"We had Thanksgiving Wednesday so we could focus today, " said Alanna Bailey of Pleasant Hill.
"It's fun, the whole family is here. Dad's over there getting a TV and mom's getting something else."
A mom and daughter waited outside the store, hoping some sweaters they spotted previously might be marked down.
"I like going inside the store, the shopping experience," said Katrina Brown of Sacramento, "and we already had our dinner so why not walk some pounds off at Target?"
Many shoppers clutched lists and weekly ads, to guide their choices.
"Our strategy is an Xbox and miscellaneous electronics," said Dan Rich of Sacramento, accompanied by six children and teenagers.
"And these guys are going to spread out, divide and conquer, hitting different parts of the store, we have an army!"
The Thanksgiving blitz is a retail tradition now.
As they do each year, Target staffers posed for a group selfie.
In the toy aisle, a month of tough decisions were just beginning.
"One has a swimming pool, the other has a doctor's office," said Chris Smith, agonizing over his Barbie playsets, before finally choosing the camper.
Target closed at 1 a.m. Friday to clean-up and reopen at 7 a.m., for the continuation of Black Friday promotions