Black Friday

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

Local shoppers rush to take

advantage of Christmas bargains

By Jason Norman

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As the last few hours of Thanksgiving ticked by, Josh Fulcher knew he’d have a busy Friday. The Wal-Mart cashier, a six-month veteran of the Main Street store, had been chosen to attempt to negotiate the biggest rush of the shopping season – Black Friday, when prices drop, merchandise flies, stores jam, and people like Fulcher can only hope to survive it all.

&uot;I pretty much stayed up all night,&uot; he said. &uot;I took a nap this morning. I figured it would be busy.&uot;

He was right; when he arrived just after 5:30 a.m., a line of customers stretched nearly around the store, ready to go on the attack when sales officially started at 6 a.m..

&uot;It scared me,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d seen on the news where people were lining up outside other stores, and then I saw all those people lined up in here.&uot;

Across the street, Marrisa Basla had been helping prepare Belk’s Department Store for over an hour.

&uot;We got there at 4 a.m., and shoppers were in the parking lot by five,&uot; said the store manager. &uot;We opened up at 5:15 a.m., 45 minutes early, and that proved to be a big success because of the sales. Over 80 items in the store were classified as Doorbusters – from the opening until noon, these individual items would be on sale for far below usual.

As the sun started the rise, the onslaught hit. Registers rang, lines filled up, and Fulcher and Basla kept things running smoothly at their respective stores. A few hours later, they could breathe again.

&uot;I was easier than I thought,&uot; Fulcher said &uot;It ran OK. People kept buying VCRs.&uot;

That’s always a popular item around this time of year, said Wal-Mart manager Sam Wiggs.

&uot;There’s usually a big rush in electronics, toys and houseware,&uot; he said. &uot;We were a bit more organized this year than last year. We had more staff on board, so it was easier for us to control it.&uot;

As the rush started to taper off in the early afternoon hours, Julia Skeeter and Mable Patillo made their way through the lines.

&uot;We’re eating again!&uot; Skeeter said of her family’s post-Thanksgiving plans. &uot;We need some stuff for my mom’s cooking. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of people.&uot;

&uot;I had to pick up a dress for my grand-granddaughter for church,&uot; said Patillo. &uot;It was busy, but I got everything I needed.&uot;

It was the common consensus over at Belk’s, according to Basla.

&uot;We recently went to consolidated registers, all in one location,&uot; she said. &uot;That ran much more smoothly than when they were scattered throughout the store. People were in and out really fast, and everything ran smoothly.&uot;