Shoppers flood stores, please retailers

Published 3:19 pm Friday, November 27, 2009

NATCHEZ — Hundreds of pairs of sleepy eyes lined the parking lots and the aisles of local stores Friday morning as Black Friday sales kicked off at 4 a.m.

Early morning shoppers waited to be some of the first to save on their holiday purchases at the Natchez Mall.

Belk Store Manager Mary Flach said her expectations for the holiday shopping season’s D-Day turnout numbers were blown away by the shoppers who turned out in droves Friday morning.

Email newsletter signup

“This is fantastic,” Flach said. “We had over 300 people waiting in freezing temperatures (Friday) morning (for us to open.)”

While Flach had no official count of how many shoppers entered her store at 4 a.m., the promotional gift cards given out at the door gave her a picture of how the morning kicked off.

“We had all of our 250 gift cards given out by 4:05 a.m.,” Flach said.

Natchez resident and Belk shopper Martha Deen said she was awake at 3 a.m. in preparation to do some planned shopping.

“I’m shopping early,” Deen said. “There are so many things to think of and shop for. I feel so lucky today. I think I’m going to do well.”

Deen said she is trying to finish up holiday shopping for her family early this year so that post-Christmas bills won’t be an issue in her household’s budget next year.

“So many people have all their Christmas paid for and have all their presents paid for by January,” Deen said. “That’s what I am trying to do. I’m as close to being finished shopping as I’m going to be.”

As shoppers perused Belk’s holiday inventory and savings, Natchez shopper Tameka Moore was waiting on the other end of the mall to check out JCPenney’s sales.

“I was out here at 3:45 a.m.,” Moore said. “I’m here for the sales and baby clothes.”

Moore, a veteran Black Friday shopper, said each year she wakes up early to experience the chaos that only half-off and buy-one-get-one-free sales can create.

“Every year, I kick the door down to get in here,” Moore said. “I’m about to go to Walmart.”

As Moore waited in line at Belk at 5 a.m., Walmart’s doors opened to hundreds of shoppers who had visions of electronics, toys, clothes and other marked-down presents dancing in their heads.

As soon as Black Friday sales came into effect at 5 a.m., some shoppers looked forward to standing in line for two to three hours to check out with their discounted goods.

Natchez shoppers Adam and Jessica Brady found themselves in the electronics line extending halfway down the length of the store.

Standing at the end of the ever-growing line, the Bradys said they hoped the store would make their Black Friday a successful one.

“As long as we can get what we came for, that would be nice,” Jessica Brady said.

The item the Bradys and many other shoppers waited hours in line for is a Nintendo DS Lite — a gaming system Jessica Brady said resembles a Nintendo Game Boy.

The Bradys were waiting to see if they could buy two DS Lite systems for two of their three children, and said they hoped they could save money on the sale of the day — a markdown from $130 to $98.

The couple said even though the craziness of the early morning shopping is tedious at times, the allure of the sales keep them coming back for more.

“We’ve (shopped on Black Friday) a couple of times. Every year I’m like, ‘Why am I doing this’ but I still do it anyway,” Jessica Brady said.

“It’s a lot less cheaper than normal (on Black Friday,)” Adam Brady said.