Black Friday is important to merchants because it kicks off the holiday shopping season, when they can bring in 25 to 40 percent of their annual revenue.
The day is important to shoppers, too, though many of them seem to have a love-hate relationship with Black Friday.
Black Friday shopping often means putting up with big crowds or getting up in the wee hours to be the first in line when the doors open.
Jimmy Nance of Asheboro, NC always goes shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. While visiting family on the Grand Strand for the holiday weekend, he headed to the Myrtle Beach hh gregg store, where he shopped for a TV, a computer and other electronic gadgets.
"We brought the truck," Nance said.
But that part about waiting in line for hours to get the best deals?
"Not for me, no. I'm not camping out in the parking lot for a TV, not happening."
Christmas shoppers who are willing to put up with the bad parts of Black Friday may discover that it pays off.
"I am finding real good bargains," said Stacy Pope of Georgetown, who came to Coastal Grand Mall Friday to pick up some bargains.
But Black Friday has developed a reputation for being such a pain in the shopping bag that some people have always tried to steer clear of it.
"I don't really care for Black Friday because there's too many people, but this year I decided to start the tradition," said Coastal Grand Mall shopper Meredith Staver.
While some people love the Black Friday shopping experience and others try to avoid it, for a few shoppers, it's less about finding a great deal than about having an opportunity to hang out with family and friends.
"It's not for us so much about snatching that great TV on sale, but just more about camaraderie and having fun shopping together," said mall shopper Susan Mungo.
In the end, spending time with family and friends is part of what the Christmas season is supposed to be about, which brings this story back to Jimmy Nance and the reason why, despite the hassles, he still hits the stores every Black Friday.
"Always. Hang out with Mom, hang out with the family, it's always good," Nance said.
It's expected that shoppers will spend nearly $500 billion during this holiday shopping season, or about 3 percent more than they did last year.