By Brian Livingston / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
As the sun began to peek over the stores in the Meridian Crossroads shopping center, shoppers were either winding down a long night, in the midst of still buying presents, or just beginning to fill out those wish lists.
In any case, there was a method to the madness that has become known as Black Friday.
"We're just starting," Denise Tucker said sheepishly. "We're looking for boots and clothes and an Ipod for my daughter."
Tucker, along with her daughter Abbey Tucker, are from Mobile, Ala. She said they come to Meridian every Thanksgiving to be with family and friends and to shop because it isn't as hectic here as it is in Mobile.
"The crowds aren't as big," said Denise Tucker.
The crowds were big enough for some of the shoppers, however.
"We are worn out," said Debbie Ballard of Pinehill, Ala., as she walked past Best Buy Friday morning before 7 a.m. "We have been going at it since 8:30 last night. We have just a couple more places to go and then it is home for a much deserved nap."
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Many people use that day to get the best deals on items they need to fill out their Christmas wish lists. Lora Harris of Meridian said she was successful.
"My daughter wanted a specific set of headphones to listen to her music and I found them at a discounted price," Harris said as she left the Bonita Lakes Mall Friday morning. "She's been a good girl so I guess it was worth it."
For others, like seasoned Black Friday shopper Katlyn Hoffer of Collinsville, a tried and true system is always helpful to get through the sometimes grueling act of shopping at such a busy time.
Hoffer started out at Goody's at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. She was successful in finding the riding boots she was looking for. Then it was to the Shoe Carnival and then next on the list was Route 21. At this point, early in the morning hours on Friday, Hoffer executed a strategic pit stop.
"A power nap is always important so at 2 a.m. we got home and got some sleep," she said.
At 6:30 a.m. Friday she was in line waiting for Loeb's, in downtown Meridian, to open its doors.
"North Face jackets. That is what I'm looking for here and then I'm buying some things for my little brothers and sisters," Hoffer said.
As the line in front of the Lifeway Christian Store slowly grew in the chilly air Friday morning, shoppers were treated to cups of hot chocolate by employees. A pair of women wore matching shirts that read, "Shop till we drop" to give them some inspiration.
The bargain hunters would continue this frantic pace until late Friday when either the deals went away or the shelves were emptied of items. For many the Black Friday excursion is a rite of passage while for others it is a necessity to make this holiday season a joyous one. For everyone the busiest shopping day of the year is always a challenge.