Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

November 29, 2013

Head start on holiday shopping

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — For the serious shoppers in Corsicana Thursday night, Walmart was the first stop on the list, followed closely by Beall’s and Gander Mountain. Lone Star Western Wear was first on the list for Friday.

As Black Friday sales have gotten more competitive, many stores rolled back their sales to start on Thursday night, ignoring the national holiday in the bid for first shoppers. For many of the customers loading up Thursday night, it wasn’t a big issue. They had time to have the big traditional lunch, grab a nap and still make it to the first sales by 6 p.m. Thursday.

The feast aftermath — a turkey-inspired nap — only spurred their eagerness to get out again, according to Stephanie Cates of Corsicana. “We got our energy to come shopping,” she said, laughing.

For eight years, sisters-in-law Jessica Owen of Navarro and Ashley Thomas, have hit the sales hard, and this year was no exception. Owen was first in line for the deeply discounted iPads. The women arrived at Walmart for the 6 p.m. sales at 3 p.m. to get in line. By 7:30 p.m., the pair and their mother-in-law had filled three shopping carts over the brim with everything from clothes to toys and electronics.

They started their family’s Thanksgiving celebration at 10 a.m. to make sure they had plenty of time for the shopping, since it also started so early this year.

“This is an all-day event,” Owen said.

“Everyone always says ‘I’d rather pay full price than shop on Black Friday... ,’” Thomas said.

“But not me,” the two women said in unison.

Owen scoffed at the thought of not coming out for Black Friday sales, no matter what day they start. “I get an adrenaline rush,” she said. “It’s fun.”

The women began their shopping planning a month ago, looking on-line for sneak peeks of items that would be going on sale, and scouring the sales circulars in newspapers and the mail. In the past, they’ve shopped all night and slept all day Friday, but the earlier sales times mean a change of schedule and more competition. There were fewer people in the stores when the sales started at midnight and 3 a.m., Owen said.

“We used to have tons of family come and man each station but they limit things now,” Thomas said.

Owen’s husband came out long enough to stand in one line for her, then he left, saying he’d rather babysit their three children all day than stand in line again.

At the other end of the spectrum from shopping pros Owen and Thomas was probably Allen Coker, who came out for one thing and one thing only — a grill he saw in a circular.

“I stood in line for an hour to get the grill, and then stood in line for an hour to check out,” Coker said, clearly relieved to be leaving the store. “It’s a madhouse.”

At 6:30 p.m., the giant Walmart parking lot was solid vehicles all the way back to Highway 31. When Brittany LaRue and her mom Sherry Brooks arrived there weren’t any shopping carts available, so Brooks went and got a big trash can on wheels and they filled that up.

“It was our red-neck buggy,” she said, laughing. The two women spent about two hours in the store, but got what they wanted and at good prices, they said.

“Nobody else would come with us, they said we were crazy,” Brooks said.

Chris Albert was busy all day on Thanksgiving, running around spending time with family and friends, helping out at a luncheon for the church, before going shopping at Walmart that evening.

“I got everything I wanted,” Albert said. “The Lord was good.”

She got a TV, a trampoline and other presents for children and family members. She still hadn’t eaten Thanksgiving dinner, but that was next on her list, she said. No more shopping, at least Thursday.

“I’m going to bed,” Albert said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com