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Shopping season starts strong here

Black Friday brings out crowds

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POSTED: December 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Frenchi Jones /

Beverly Johnson looks at shoes for her children at Peebles Friday.

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Havoc.
That how Darlene Knox described the scene at Wal-Mart the morning after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday in the world of retail.
Prices slashed by more than half on big-ticket items not only drew shoppers in droves, they brought bargain hunters out early to get first dibs on doorbuster sales.
Knox did not have her sights set on anything in particular, but the Hinesville women was out shopping around 2 a.m., “looking for bargains.”
Before going to Wal-Mart, she also caught the specials at the Fort Stewart Post Exchange with a friend until about 7:30 a.m., when she went back home to rest.
With no set spending limit, she went out for another round of shopping at 4 p.m., browsing Bealls with her sister, Marlene Shuford, who was visiting from Statesville, N.C.
Fort Stewart solider Nathan Weaver knew exactly what he wanted when he braved Wal-Mart’s wall-to-wall crowds at 3 a.m.
He wanted a 26-inch flat-screen TV, but couldn’t get to one—literally — because of the crowd.
It wasn’t until 3:30 p.m., with the help of a store worker who had to look in the stock room, that Weaver loaded a TV in his cart. He had to settle for a 22-inch flat screen.

“I was pretty upset,” said Weaver, who returned from Iraq last week.
Happy or not, Weaver spent money, which is what retailers rely on heavily during Black Friday, said Gregory Brock, an economics professor at Georgia Southern. For some, it’s been their best sales day each year.
“They probably depend even more on this year’s revenue because it may be hard to get the short-term loans they have relied on in the past,” Brock said of retailers.
He doesn’t think lower gas prices will cause consumers to buy more.
“We may even be seeing a fundamental shift toward more saving and away from consumption,” Brock said. “We’ve been urging consumers to do this for decades, but they have not.”
Queen Edwards, of Memphis, Tenn., believes that people will spend less this holiday season.
“People are just really, really taking it easy this year because they don’t know what next year is going to bring,” said Edwards, who scanned the racks of CitiTrends late Friday afternoon.
Edwards, who was visiting her son, passed on getting up early and heading to the stores after looking through sale advertisements and not finding what she wanted.
“There was one particular item I wanted for my grandkids and it wasn’t on sale, so there was no reason for me to bust the door down,” she said.
Hinesville’s Joyce Harris had to work during the big sale hours, so she missed the throngs.
“Oh, I would have been there,” Harris said.
She has been on a tight budget but still plans to shop.
“I can’t afford things like I used to, but I’m still going to stretch that mighty dollar,” Harris said.

 

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