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Deal-seekers face long lines, cold temperatures on Black Friday

Saturday, November 28, 2009 ~ Updated 9:31 PM

Black Friday shoppers jammed the parking lot at Target in Cape Girardeau.
(Fred Lynch)
Standing in the front of a line that seemed a mile long at Toys "R" Us in Cape Girardeau, Jane Poole considered herself lucky Friday to have a ticket allowing her to purchase a Zhu Zhu hamster.

Poole, who was with some family members, arrived at the toy store shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday. By midnight the line stretched from in front of Toys "R" Us and adjoining stores and around the parking lot, ending near the stop light at Silver Springs Road and William Street.

Management handed out tickets to the first 100 households in line who wanted the opportunity to purchase the Zhu Zhu hamsters, a small interactive toy hamster that has become one of the most sought-after gift items this holiday shopping season.

"Knowing that I'm getting one of the hottest items of the year is pretty cool," Poole said. "It's like I have to scream 'woo-hoo!'"

Like others who braved the freezing temperatures and long lines, Poole said Black Friday has become a tradition for her family.

A lucky motorist finds a parking space close to Toys "R" Us on Black Friday.
(Fred Lynch)
"We get in the car and arrive early at the stores we want to shop at," she said. "It's become a fun outing for us."

While Poole arrived early Thursday evening at Toys "R" Us, another store had shoppers in line by 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Customers pitched tents and settled into lawn chairs at Best Buy in hopes of having the opportunity to purchase computers, televisions, video game systems and movies at significant savings.

Best Buy employees handed out tickets at 3 a.m. Thursday for certain items, and by 5 a.m. the first customer entered the store.

Justin Day, who arrived in line around 5 p.m. Thursday with some friends, had a ticket to purchase an LCD HDTV.

"This is quite an upgrade, considering my other television was a standard one I got at a garage sale," Day said. "Christmas Eve will be my 16th birthday, so I'm making this a great one."

Linda Thompson, left, of Dexter, Mo., wraps up a Black Friday shopping trip to West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau with her daughter, Melanie Clark, and grandson, Connor Clark, of Sikeston, Mo.
The National Retail Federation predicted 134 million people would shop from Friday through today, an increase of 6 million shoppers from 2008.

Black Friday is known as the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, when large crowds pack stores and push them into the black. Some stores rely on the shopping weekend for as much as 40 percent of annual sales and profits.

With unemployment at 10.2 percent and consumers with jobs watching every penny, shoppers like Jessie Davis said they took advantage of blockbuster deals over the weekend to save as much money as possible on Christmas gifts.

"In the past I would never have dreamed of coming into all this madness so soon," said Davis, who had a shopping cart full of DVDs, a Barbie Jeep and Robo Jam video game. "This year it's more about stretching every dollar."

Area retailers said they were pleased with the turnout.

"This weekend seems like it gets shoppers in a great mood," said Charles McGinty, manager of CP McGinty Jewelers in Cape Girardeau. "It's good to see people out and about on the holiday weekend. When the holiday season hits, our sales increase almost instantaneously."

Mike Shivelbine, co-owner of Shivelbine Music and Sound in Cape Girardeau, said that while he believes the big-box stores benefit the most from Thanksgiving weekend, he said guitar and television sales were doing well.

"I expect that we'll see more activity during the next few weeks, which always seems to be the case for us," he said.

Stereo One in Cape Girardeau reported sales were slightly up compared to Thanksgiving weekend in 2008. Owner Jon Selby said televisions, car audio systems and Blu-ray disc players were the best-selling items at his store.

"We did better than expected," Selby said. "The bad news that the economy is behaving badly may be behind us and the consumer may be spending yet again."

Robert Petch, owner of Nearly Perfect Shoes, said sales at its locations in Cape Girardeau, Dexter, Mo., Jackson and Poplar Bluff, Mo., saw an overall increase from Thanksgiving weekend 2008. Women's boots and athletic apparel were among the store's best-selling items, Petch said.

"Some of our out-of-town customers helped boost our sales," Petch said. "Saturday wasn't as big as Black Friday, but we came out pretty good for the weekend."



Pertinent addresses:

209 S. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO

1985 E. Jackson Blvd., Jackson, MO

345 S. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO

210 S. Silver Springs Road, Cape Girardeau, MO

535 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

117 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO'

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Within 48 hours from Black Friday there are 58 Zhu Zhu Hamsters for sale on Ebay that lie within a 50 mile radius of Cape Girardeau. I guess the people that came to stand in line 6 hours before the doors open had every intention of turning around and making a fast buck instead of giving the toy to a child.

-- Posted by NoDisclosure on Sat, Nov 28, 2009, at 11:27 PM

and making a fast buck instead of giving the toy to a child.

-- Posted by NoDisclosure on Sat, Nov 28, 2009, at 11:27 PM

Good for them. Capitalism at it's best. It's called hustling.

-- Posted by Wiff on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 12:09 AM

So much ado over "junk".

-- Posted by Rocket_Surgeon on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 7:24 AM

Where do these people who camp out all day and night go the bathroom?

-- Posted by Sierra6 on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 9:04 AM

Where do these people who camp out all day and night go to the bathroom?

-- Posted by Sierra6 on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 9:05 AM

Where do these people who camp out all day and night go to the bathroom?

-- Posted by Sierra6 on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 9:05 AM

Save that cup after drinking the coffee.

-- Posted by Wiff on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 11:44 AM

LOSERS.... Get a life.

-- Posted by the_eye on Sun, Nov 29, 2009, at 3:02 PM

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Map of pertinent addresses