‘Tremendous’ crowds greet holiday sales

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 1999

Perhaps this Thanksgiving holiday, the most popular sport wasn’t football, but racing — racing to the day-after-Thanksgiving sales, that is.

&uot;We do this just about every year, just looking for anything that’s on sale,&uot;&160;said Sallie Tapley of Natchez, one of almost 100 people waiting outside Natchez Mall at 6:45 a.m. Friday.

Son-in-law Matthew Cupstid, who was on hand to help carry packages, said early morning shopping is a bigger deal here than in his native California.

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&uot;I’m here, and I’m ready to go,&uot;&160;said Cupstid, now of Jackson, moving around to warm up for the sprint to housewares.

Attractions ranged from McRae’s annual Cracker Jack sale — customers can find coupons for discounts, a $1,500 shopping spree and a diamond ring in the bags of popcorn — to $69 VCRs at Wal-Mart.

&uot;It’s wide open,&uot;&160;Wal-Mart Co-Manager Paul Sims said of Friday’s crowd, which gathered before the sale started at 6 a.m. &uot;We have tremendous traffic.&uot;

Sims said most made a beeline for electronics and toys, especially Toy Story and Pokemon items.

Both Terry Perkins, manager at J.C. Penney’s, and Jackie Sullivan, manager of Stage Department Store, said their early-morning crowds were large and sales volumes were expected to be about the same as last year.

&uot;Our crowds are very large,&uot; said Mary Flach, McRae’s manager. &uot;Last weekend, we had our charity sale. I&160;think they saw what kind of merchandise we had, couldn’t get to all of it and came back (Friday) ready to go.&uot;