HOUSTON It s been an anxious wait for dedicated shoppers who camped out at various stores in the days leading up to Black Friday.

Some stores opened at midnight Thursday, bringing relief to those who slept on the sidewalk outside of Best Buy.

Toys R Us opened a little earlier, however, and the shopping games were well underway while some people were still heading their turkey dinner.

Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, named for the period when stores traditionally turn a profit for the year. But Black Friday openings have crept earlier over the past few years.

Now, stores are opening their doors Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie.

It s an effort by stores to make shopping more convenient for Americans. Many shoppers are worried about high unemployment and a package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff that will take effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then. Americans also are shopping online more.

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