It was cold. It was dark. It was 4 a.m.
But shoppers outside the K-Mart on Jolly Cedar Ct. didn't have a problem waiting for the store's doors to open.
"You can't find anything at these prices at a regular time," said Amandy Smith, who showed up at 3:30 a.m. to get her place in line. "So stand in the cold for a little bit, get a good deal."
Many shoppers lined the sidewalks starting at 3 a.m. -- well before the store's employees showed up -- but some had been in their cars in the parking lot since 1 a.m.
"I hate that it starts early, that you have to leave your family early, but the sacrifices we make to give our children a Christmas is worth the joy," said Shemickia Crook, who arrived at 4 a.m to get her hands on a tablet on sale for $39.99. "I have three kids so I can get all of them a tablet at that price."
The doors at K-Mart opened at six o'clock, the earliest it had ever opened, and plans to stay open for 41 consecutive hours.
Inside, shoppers cruised their carts past aisles that had red and green sale tags on seemingly every item. A voice frequently came over the intercom advertising a buy one get one free shoe sale, warning that those that didn't buy today wouldn't have the chance tomorrow.
For some shoppers, the deals were secondary. It was a yearly tradition bringing them to the stores.
"It's our time together," said Sarah Case, a Lansing resident. "It's something we like to do every year before the kids are up. We're up on Thanksgiving morning anyway, so this is kind of our time."
Shoppers said they preferred not to do their purchasing online, where they say deals and inventory can be limited. And though K-Mart offers free shipping on orders over $59 and free in-store pick up, Daquaria Beard of Lansing, sporting a smile beneath her heavy jacket and blanket, said nothing beats the experience of being in line.
"I just love it," she said. "Just the energy and the people. It's so much fun coming out."