Crowds of people flooded stores along Powell Street in San Francisco Friday, November 24, hunting for the best Black Friday deals and getting a head start on their holiday gift shopping. Many stores in Union Square opened at midnight, with crowds thinning toward 6 a.m., then revving back up in the lunchtime hours. The swarms of shoppers were noticeably thinner this year, with many store deals starting earlier in the week allowing shoppers more time to snag their favorite items. Photos by Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner.