Black Friday Starts Early

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday was such a gorgeous evening, Black Friday shoppers were probably thankful that the shopping tradition began Thanksgiving evening.

People began lining up at Toys-R-Us at noon and, when the doors opened at 8 p.m., shoppers had a plan and probably a prayer.

"I had breakfast this morning with the family, dropped the kids off with my parents and came out here," said Joy Smith, the first person in line outside the store Thursday afternoon.

Smith's 3-year-old son is why she was part of the crowd rushing into the east Wichita store. She said she arrived at noon so she could be sure she had a good chance at free gift bags given to the first couple hundred customers.

"Free $30 bag of gifts; when you're a single mom and can't afford much for your child, you need something," Smith said.

Since Toys-R-Us is a toy store after all, most of the shoppers in line credited their children for their decision to start Black Friday shopping early.

"I'm coming to get stuff for my 1-year-old daughter," said Andrae Coleman. "Get some of the freebies and stuff; make sure she has a good Christmas."

"I'm looking for the great deals and am excited about saving some money," said Matt Barker.

Barker arrived from Mulvane about 6:30 p.m. to begin shopping for his children, wish list in-hand.

Coleman's Black Friday experience only included the Toys-R-Us stop. He had to head to work later in the evening. He said his first rush toward door-buster deals was a good experience.

"(It's) crazy, to tell you the truth," Coleman said. "But it's cool, though."

Smith said she has come to enjoy the festive atmosphere each Black Friday.

Barker still had a long night ahead after Toys-R-Us.

"I think we might move on to Walmart after this and we don't know after that," he said.

There was one thing he did know for sure.

"I look forward to sleeping in in the morning," Barker said.

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