AUSTIN -- On Friday morning, shoppers strolled from store to store at The Domain. They peacefully perused the racks at Altered State clothing store and chatted with cashiers as they were checking out. There was no frenzy, no rowdy crowds, no dog-eat-dog attitudes.
"Oh, we're just Black Friday shopping," said 15-year old Caroline Jones, with a smile.
The lack of shopping madness was surreal for Black Friday first-timer Philip Dillon.
"[Stores] are not as packed as I thought they would be, which is cool because it gives you a less stressful shopping experience," Dillon said.
"We did Black Friday about three years ago, just to see what it was all about, and it was really crazy. I felt really scared," said shopper Elana Sudai. "I feel really calm here. I feel people are friendly."
That's because this year, Black Friday is the rainbow after the storm.
Eager bargain hunters rushed into Kohl's Thursday night. They were among thousands who traded in leftovers for shopping, taking advantage of Thanksgiving Day sales.
"Macy's was ridiculous. There were people everywhere. [It] felt like those Wal-Mart stories where people get trampled," Dillon said.
"I saw a whole bunch of people last night. There was a line to the back of the building at Target," said Jones.
Gray Thursday stole Black Friday's thunder.
"Since we were out last night, we didn't come early this morning," said Jones.
Still, shoppers said Friday's sales are good.
"I got myself a cashmere sweater. I got my sister her first cashmere sweater today. Went from $126 down to $39," said Sudai.
And the lack of frenzy was enough to make some Black Friday first-timers plan to come back next year.
"I think I might be a convert to the Black Friday thing, as long as it's on my time and I don't get too stressed out about it," Dillon said.
However, a busy Thursday won't lead to smaller crowds over the weekend. Retailers planned for big Thursday crowds and most spread out deals over the weekend, offering certain items on certain days to get more people to go shopping.