Shoppers get a jump start on holiday toy shopping

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 29, 2009

NATCHEZ — Some of Santa’s helpers were busy grabbing up holiday deals Friday on the first official shopping day of the Christmas season.

Shoppers across the Miss-Lou, armed with sale papers, Santa letters and calculators, utilized Black Friday markdowns to stock up on some of this holiday season’s most wanted toys.

Transformers, video games and Barbies were among the most popular items purchased by Miss-Lou shoppers braving the Friday morning rush.

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Patrice Washington and Angie Stewart, both of Natchez, had experience on their side when jumping into the toy section of the Natchez Walmart.

Washington and Stewart, sisters, spend nearly every Black Friday shopping together, crossing things off their lists and adding up the savings along the way.

“It’s tradition for us,” Stewart said. “We get out here and get some shopping done while having fun together.”

Stewart was shopping for her five children, ranging in age from 30 to 7.

“The 30-year-old, she still thinks she should have a big Christmas,” Stewart joked.

Washington was marking things off her three children’s wish lists with the most requested item being Transformers.

“They all want Transformers,” Washington said. “So we’ve gotten a lot of those.”

Stewart came shopping Friday with just two big items on her list — Transformers for her 7-year-old and an iPod Touch for her 13-year-old. Stewart considered herself lucky to have been able to secure both items.

“I’ve got them, and I think we are finished,” she said.

Shane Gray, of El Dorado, Ark., was in Natchez visiting family for Thanksgiving and took the opportunity to shop for his three children, ages 6, 3 and 2.

“I’m looking for the good deals and good deals on the things they like,” he said. “It looks like most stuff is $5 or $10 off, so I guess I’m doing OK.”

Gray had only been shopping for approximately 30 minutes at lunchtime on Friday, but his shopping basket was already filling up.

“I’ve got a guitar for my oldest and some transformers for the boys,” he said.

Gray was in the store with cousin Renea Harrison who was browsing the video games for her four children.

Harrison’s children, two girls and two boys ranging in age from 15 to 7, all want the same thing she said — video games. Any video game she said.

“They haven’t asked for anything specific,” the Natchez resident said. “They just say they want video games, lots of video games.”

Harrison said though she and Gray were just diving into their lists, they were having good luck so far finding the most wanted items for their family. Things were not going as well for other though.

Charlotte Little, of Jonesville, La., was on her third stop and it was the third strike for one item.

“Ants in the Pants, I can’t find Ants in the Pants,” Little said.

The board game was on the Christmas wish list of Little’s niece and nephew, but she said the two might be out of luck.

“I’m going one more place today looking for it,” she said. “If I can’t find it there, then that’s it. I’m not looking anymore.”

Little was shopping with her husband Oppie, and the couple had a pretty good strategy for getting the most done in the shortest amount of time — divide and conquer.

The Littles have seven children, six nieces and nephews and their 5-month-old baby girl, and multiple adults to shop for. And Charlotte said she had no plans of shopping much after Friday.

“I’m getting this done today,” she said.

To do that, the list was divided by gender with Charlotte taking the girl side and Oppie picking out presents for the boys.

“My nephew, he wants an bow and arrow, and not the play kind,” Charlotte said. “He wants the real thing. My husband’s taking care of that.”

So far she had picked up some dress-up clothes for her 6-year-old niece who has dreams of being a princess and pajamas for almost everyone.

“These footie-pajamas, they are for my husband’s grandmother,” she said. “I just couldn’t resist.”