Shopping begins early on Black Friday

November 26, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

Shelly Hooks, 19, is at the front door of Goody's handing out scratch-off cards to customers as they come in the door.

"Here's your scratch-off card. Hand it to your cashier when you check out and you can win a $100 gift card," she says, surprisingly awake and smiling today at 6 a.m.

Customers responded. "Anything to help out," one says as she pauses to take the card.

Walking down the isle between departments with an eye on the activity is Renee Malicote, 20. She has worked for Goody's in Danville for two years.

"It's insane! Over 100 people at 5 a.m," Malicote says and adds that it felt more like 200.

Malicote is the floor associate in the childrens' department. She said they normally pull in $93,000 on the Friday after Thanksgiving. An average Friday brings in about $30,000.


To prepare for the "big day," Goody's has all available associates scheduled, and dedicated a full day earlier this week to getting the items ready.

"Wednesday was our biggest preparation day," Malicote says, taking a breath, "and we were all here, pulling every single item we had out of the stockroom and onto the floor."

Jeanine Gunter of Corbin stopped in at Goody's on her way to a meeting in Springfield. She is without a cart, by choice, standing with garments hanging off of her arms.

"I have 10 people that I'm shopping for, and so far I have three of them done this morning, and on the way to work," Gunter said proudly as she continued to pile garments on top of each other. She estimates that she will spend $1,500 this season on gifts, and has "several more days" of shopping left.

Goody's manager Micky Marsee, 36, is standing at the front door, helping not only customers in search of the perfect gift, but associates who are looking for advertised sale items that are being requested.

Marsee is pleased with the number of customers and the smooth flow of things. The checkout lines are packed with buzzing shoppers. All lines are open.

"This is the first day that we've opened at 5 a.m.," Marsee said with a faint smile, "and there were so many people lined up at the door before 5, we couldn't believe it. I stopped counting at 155 customers."

Marsee said although reports say that many will do their shopping online or at a variety of stores, Goody's in Danville has yet to feel this change.

"We will offer online shopping in the future, but right now we don't see that it's lessened our day-after-Thanksgiving crowd at all."

Goody's is offering two days of "doorbuster" prices with early bird specials today through 10 a.m., and Marsee says they expect to stay busy over the weekend.

Next door at Kmart

Next door at Kmart, the checkout lines are spilling out into the women's wear section, making it difficult to travel from one side of the store to the other without taking a detour.

There are several additional greeters on hand at the front door, ready and willing to point the specials.

An employee stands at the front directing traffic. She refers to the manager, who is working diligently at the service desk, juggling between the phone and customers.

"You'll have to get in line to ask her any questions. She's waiting on customers. Good luck getting to her," she said.

The service desk easily has more than 50 customers in line, all looking eagerly to the front for their turn.

"Were are the Yugios?" asks Jill Murphy, 19.

Murphy trolls down the toy isle, looking from side to side for the toy one of her nephews put on his wish list.

"One of my three nephews I'm shopping for asked for Yugios, but he's getting this," she giggles as she pulls the Lifesavers Gummy Worm Maker out of her cart.

"Looks like I'll be spending about $45 on this, and I have several more to go. I'd say I'll go over $100 easily," Murphy added.

Murphy was up at 5:30 to drive in from Stanford this morning, and said she was a "bit nervous" about battling the crowd on Black Friday, but so far, "it's not so bad."

The toy department at Kmart is surprisingly easy to manipulate a cart through, sparse in customers compared to the electronics department, which has a line of over 30 people waiting to check out with CDs, videos and DVDs.

In the clothing department one trio is found with a cart spilling over.

"We were up at 4:30 a.m.," Betty Ferrell says, "because we drove in from Hustonville. We're going to Goody's next, then Penny's, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Radio Shack ..."

Ferrell is with her daughter, Shelley Rousley, 26, and her granddaughter, Andrea Lease, 11.

"Andrea begged to come with us this morning. She actually wanted us to wake her up for this," says Rousley as she shakes her head looking at her niece.

Kmart will continue its after-Thanksgiving sale all day, but attributes the early morning rush to the additional discounts offered until 11 a.m.

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