Fresh from the turkey, shoppers line up

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 29, 2002

Early-bird shoppers enter McRae’s at 6 this morning to receive discounts inside Cracker Jack packages for the after-Thanksgiving sale. Today is the busiest shopping day of the year. (The Vicksburg Post/Melanie Duncan)

Eleanor Phillips got an early start this morning on holiday shopping at Pemberton Square mall, but some at Wal-Mart SuperCenter were out even earlier to open the busiest retail day of the year.

The Christmas shopping season traditionally begins the day after Thanksgiving.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“We got out here about a quarter after 6,” Phillips said as she stood in the mall just outside the door to McRae’s department store in Vicksburg.

She said she found the shopping fairly easy, even with the crowds of bargain hunters. One of the items they sought was a dress for her daughter.

“It didn’t take her any time” to pick the one she wanted, Phillips said of her daughter.

Although Phillips did not find a crowd waiting at McRae’s door, that was not the case when the store opened at 6 a.m.

“It was pretty wild,” said Allyson Daquilla, a McRae’s employee manning one of the cosmetics counters. “They were lined up outside the doors to get the Cracker Jacks.”

As a promotion, McRae’s hands out bags of Cracker Jacks to the earliest shoppers. The bags are immediately torn open as the shoppers look inside for discount coupons and prizes.

“We have Cracker Jacks all over,” Daquilla said.

She said it seemed to her the crowd was about the same as it had been in past years.

Just next door, at K-B Toys, the shoppers were also hard at their task of looking for youngsters’ Christmas.

Sherika Moore manned the door handing out large plastic shopping bags and copies of the store’s newspaper advertising supplements. She said about 75 people were waiting when the store opened at 5 a.m. But, she said it did not seem to be as busy as the store was last year on the day after Thanksgiving.

As in most years, certain toys seemed to be the big sellers.

“The Touch My Toes Pooh and Fur Real Friends are going quick,” she said, adding that LeapPads, Xbox and PlayStation 2 were also popular.

The stores were not the only places at Pemberton Square that were busy. Santa Claus and his helpers in the center of the mall had plenty of customers.

Freanderia Coleman and Sheila Smith with Sepia Photography said parents brought young folks out to have their photos snapped with Santa and to whisper their wish lists into his ear.

“We had about 100” in the first hour this morning, Smith said.

Stores in downtown Vicksburg and at Vicksburg Factory Outlets also were opening early in anticipation of the increase in shoppers.

The activity at Pemberton was somewhat of a relief for Sandra Johnson and Kevin Williams compared to where they started out.

“We went to Wal-Mart first, which was about 5:30. Then we went home and unloaded and we made it here about 7,” Johnson said.

She described the situation at Wal-Mart as “horrendous.” The parking lot was full, and the store was full.

“We thought we were going to get out there early, and it wouldn’t be as many people … wrong,” she said, adding shopping carts were hard to come by. “We actually had to go back out of the store to find a shopping cart on the parking lot.”