Early shoppers snag discounted decorations

By Staff
EARLY SHOPPERS – Freda McClure, left, of Quitman, picks through stacks of Christmas blankets and other decorations today with her husband, Chuck, as they search for bargains at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Meridian. Photo by Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Dec. 26, 2003
Christmas had just ended six hours ago when Debra Felton loaded her car with holiday decorations she snagged for bargain prices after visiting Wal-Mart shortly after 6 a.m. today.
Felton stopped at Wal-Mart SuperCenter before heading for work. Her prize possession: two fiber optic angels she bought for half price.
Felton was among hundreds of shoppers who took to Wal-Mart SuperCenter, Bonita Lakes Mall and other Meridian-area retailers early today for after-Christmas sales and gift returns.
By 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes after Wal-Mart SuperCenter opened, more than 150 customers had already passed through the doors. Wal-Mart workers said most of the early crowd looked for discounted Christmas decorations.
Cole said the counter at the customer service department, where people return items, would likely grow more crowded later in the day.
Up the road at Bonita Lakes Mall, shoppers began to fill the parking lot about 7 a.m. when most of the mall's shops and department stores opened.
Mall officials said their Christmas Eve crowd was larger than expected. Another large crowd was expected today and Saturday as customers redeem gift certificates and gift cards.
White said another factor with today's shopping crowd could be the large number of people off for the holiday. But even some like Felton, who had to work today, still managed to make time to shop.