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Shoppers hit stores in search of bargains

The official holiday shopping season opened bright and earlyFriday morning in Brookhaven, with some businesses opening as earlyas 4 and 5 a.m.

Sears Assistant Manager Stanley Dixon said he had arrived atwork around 4:30 a.m. and was supposed to get off around noon. Hesaid based on the shoppers he’d already seen, he would stay as longas he was needed depending on shopping traffic.

“It’s been a busy morning so far,” he said. “But I’m excitedeveryone’s come out to enjoy the holiday season. If it stays thisbusy, I may not go home until 5 or 6 o’clock tonight.”

Meanwhile, Charlene Dunn and her daughter Renee Richardson, bothof Brookhaven, perused a sale paper before attacking the shelves atSears. The two had already been to Wal-Mart and Fred’s.

“I needed a video rocker for my grandson,” said Dunn. “You sitin the rocker and you plug it into the Playstation, and the musiccomes through the speakers.”

She said she had finally found it at Fred’s, and was nowbrowsing for other Christmas gifts.

Brookhaven’s Beverly Davis was also made to search high and lowbefore finally finding her targeted gift at Radio Shack. She stoodtriumphantly at the register at 6 a.m. with the yellow BumblebeeTransformer action figure, destined for the waiting hands of a5-year-old.

“I’ve looked all over for the Bumblebee,” she said. “I shoppedonline at Target, eBay, Wal-Mart, Amazon … no else had him.”

Mae Butler of Brookhaven got up at 4:30 to brave the crowds inthe name of holiday giving.

“I’m looking for presents for my grandchildren,” she said as sheloaded a vanity set into her buggy. “I found a computer, and avanity set, and a lot of other presents so far.”

Patricia Washington said she had already been to Wal-Mart aftergetting up at 4:50 a.m. The crowds she had seen there were extreme,she said.

“It was ridiculous over there,” she said. “It was wall-to-wallbuggies and buggies, and you really couldn’t get by.”

Washington said she did find a portable DVD player, however.

She wasn’t the only one.

Electronic items were in demand with many shoppers on BlackFriday. Flat-panel HDTVs, perched precariously upon shopping carts,could be seen leaving Wal-Mart at regular intervals.

“Our big items are televisions, DVD players and computers,” saidWal-Mart Assistant Manager Peggy Rowell. “All the merchandise waswrapped in black plastic on stages throughout the store. We removedthe plastic at 5 a.m.

As soon as the stages were uncovered, the shoppers were onthem.”

Radio Shack Manager Kevin Harvey said GPS navigation systems,starting at $129, were the hot item at his store, which had a lineof patrons gathered outside at 6 a.m. When asked what he and hisassociates had done to prepare for the influx of shoppers, he said,”pray.”

But the early shopping wasn’t such a sport for some. Ronnie Basssaid he’d been to both Fred’s locations and was ready to call it aday.

“I got here at 5 a.m. and I’m getting things for my kids,” hesaid as he prepared to leave the Whitworth Avenue. “I’ve been tothe other Fred’s, and now I’m fixing to go home.”

He wasn’t alone in his plans to head for the ranch.

“I’m going to go home, eat some more Thanksgiving food and go tobed,” said Brookhaven’s Chris Edwards, who was also ready to packit in before the sun rose.

And not everyone who lined up in the stores was feeling theholiday spirit.

“People should have a good attitude when they shop,” said AnitaWilson, a teacher at West Lincoln Attendance Center, who hadexperienced a touch of negativity during the Wal-Mart rush. “Thelines get long, people get impatient … If you don’t want to behere this early in the morning, then don’t come out to shop!”

Wilson’s day was far from ruined. She and her companions, AmyCase and Carrie Gill, also from the West Lincoln school, were partof a “team shop” that was headed to Jackson in the predawn hours.The trio said they probably would not get home until aroundmidnight.

To some, midnight was nearly a starting point.

“We’ve been up since 3 a.m. shopping online,” said KatrinaHines. She added that, during her and her entourage’s shoppingquest for Bluetooth technology, she would be going all out.

“We’re gonna run till the money runs out,” she said.

Washington, too, said this is just the start of a long and happyholiday shopping season.

“This is just the beginning of my Christmas shopping,” she saidas she looked at some items on the shelves at Fred’s. “I bet I’llbe in and out all day. I’m from Brookhaven, so I’ll go home andcome back out.”

Amid all the shopping craze, some people couldn’t care less.

“We’re just here for the thrill of it,” said Sarah King, who hadarrived at Wal-Mart with her brother, Ben Russell, at 4:30 a.m. forno apparent reason. “We’re going to McComb to the J.C. Penny’s andBelk later. I have to be at work at 10 a.m.”