Mississippi rises and shines for holiday deals

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, November 24, 2007

JACKSON (AP) — Vickie Waggoner, who lives in the Jackson suburb of Pearl, said before she set out to do her holiday shopping, she did her homework on the Internet to avoid buying lead-tainted toys.

‘‘I really don’t know if they’re really going to be safe. We try to depend as much as we can on the manufacturers and the Internet,’’ Waggoner said Friday as a chilly wind whipped around the two bags of toys and gift wrap weighing down both her hands outside a Toys ‘‘R’’ Us store.

Waggoner said she spent about $140 during three hours of shopping on her two grandchildren who live in Hattiesburg, 5-year-old Dylan and 20-month-old Harrison.

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‘‘Times are kind of tight so I tried to stick to my list,’’ she said.

Not all the shopping was for Christmas. Clinton resident Yufeng Zheng and his family, including 5 1/2-year-old Rachel, came out of the store laden with the oversized Dora’s Magical Castle.

‘‘This is for my daughter, Rachel, who will soon have a birthday,’’ Zheng said.

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and stores across the state opened before sunrise in hopes of attracting bargain hunters.

In the Jackson area, some hardy types stood outside in lines as temperatures hovered in the 30s.

Joann Hall and her daughter Heather Herring left their home in Silver Creek at 3 a.m. to drive at least 60 miles south to shop. They ended up at Belk’s, Kohl’s and Babies ‘‘R’’ Us in Flowood.

‘‘This is the third year we’ve done this. I didn’t want to do it before and now I love it. I thought people were crazy but it’s fun,’’ Herring said, laughing.

A few people waited more than 12 hours for the sales to start at 5 a.m. at Best Buy in Dogwood Promenade in Flowood.

Kosciusko resident Katrina Erving had hoped to get a global positioning system and a computer at Best Buy.

‘‘Everything that we were looking for was already gone. We didn’t get started as early as some people. We got there about 7:45,’’ said Erving, 25.

She has another option in mind for the gifts she missed.

‘‘I’m going to go online and see and just go from there.’’

Randy Clark and his daughter Chloe Clark, from the small town of Ethel, were operating Friday on a budget of between ‘‘$300 and $400.’’

‘‘I have a plan in my head, I think, until it all falls apart in the store. I plan to spend about $1,000 (overall) this Christmas,’’ said Randy Clark.

Chloe planned to spend at least $30 on Miley, her 12-week-old schnauzer that was a gift from her great aunt.

‘‘I’m going to get her a shirt and some toys,’’ she said.