Hundreds of people were lined up outside JCPenney at Tacoma Mall before the department store opened at 4 a.m. There was one line each for the store’s two main exterior entrances, and the ends of two lines intertwined and spilled onto the streets.
When the doors opened, people swarmed across the three floors. The escalator ferrying consumers from the first to the second level temporarily halted under the weight of the customers.
Tacoma’s Dean Lapin got to the department store about 20 minutes before the doors opened. He shopped for only one product: a cookware set for a family whose name he picked from a giving tree.
After that, there wasn’t any more shopping for quesadilla makers or Monopoly boards. There was one thing left on his mind.
"I’m heading to Starbucks," he said.