Rain, crowds can’t drive away bargain-hunters

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2000

Verenssa Cage of Ferriday rifled through her bag of Cracker Jacks early Friday morning, finally pulling out a percent-off coupon she could use on almost anything in McRae’s.

She then scanned the store from her vantage point near the handbags, looking for the red-tag racks. &uot;I’m here to see what the specials are,&uot; Cage said with a gleam in her eye.

And Cage wasn’t alone. At discount and department stores throughout Natchez, Miss-Lou residents and holiday visitors didn’t let heavy morning rains dampen their shopping plans.

Email newsletter signup

Most Natchez stores said sales seemed to be the same or better than last year’s after-Thanksgiving sales, although most stores either do not release specific sales figures locally or were not expected to compile them Friday.

&uot;I think the weather actually helped our sales, because people couldn’t go out and do anything else&uot; but shop, said Terry Perkins, manager of J.C. Penney at Natchez Mall.

Hot items included electronics specials, including computers, $58.88 VCRs and $89.94 television sets at Wal-Mart, and VCRs and &uot;Techno Dog&uot; toys at J.C. Penney.

&uot;I came here to get some bargains — and I did,&uot; said Janet Bonner of New Hebron, who was in Natchez visiting relatives over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Her cart, along with those of most other shoppers who arrived at Wal-Mart at 6 a.m. or before, was crowded with VCRs, television sets, other electronics and toys.

&uot;It’s about the crowd I&160;expected, especially for the day after Thanksgiving,&uot; said Wal-Mart Manager Joel Hullett, grinning at the sight of customers lined up with carts full of electronics and toys.

&uot;The rain hasn’t slowed them down a bit.&uot;

Other in-demand items included leather coats and jackets and other women’s apparel and accessories at McRae’s and Stage at Natchez Mall and scooters at all large stores.

&uot;I figured I&160;would get buying the kids’ toys out of the way today, too,&uot; Cage said. &uot;The hottest things this year are scooters and Playstations and, in clothes, anything made of fleece.&uot;

McRae’s opened at 6 a.m. Friday — one hour earlier than last year. Such varied items as cosmetics, candles, handbags and silver jewelry were among the day’s hot items, said Manager Mary Flach.

&uot;We were expecting to have a good day, and we weren’t disappointed,&uot;&160;Flach said. &uot;It shows people are staying home to shop, spending money in the local economy, and that’s a blessing.&uot;

Perkins said McRae’s &uot;did us a favor&uot; by opening early Friday.

&uot;We had a lot more people this year than last, and the reason is that a lot of folks went to McRae’s early to get their Cracker Jacks and then came down to my store,&uot;&160;he said.

From there, they must have walked to Stage Department Store, for Manager Lorri Alles said 50 people were waiting for her to open that store’s doors at 8 a.m.

&uot;It surprised me,&uot;&160;Alles said. &uot;I&160;felt the weather would keep people away.&uot;