TUPELO – Some 33 million people were expected to shop on Thanksgiving, and among them was Stormey Billiot.
She was third in line at Toys R Us at 12:30 Thursday afternoon, while her husband was at GameStop. Their goal – get one of the most popular gifts of the season, the new Sony PlayStation 4.
“We didn’t preorder the PS4, so I hope one of us can get it,” Billiot said. “It’s for him. We don’t have any kids. I want a diamond bracelet.”
Billiot came up empty at Toys R Us, which opened at 5 p.m., but she was hopeful her husband got what he wanted.
Ahead of her at Toys R Us were Whitney and Dustin Kenton, whose Thanksgiving lunch was a trip through the drive-through at McDonald’s.
They were helping Santa out by getting a Power Wheels Jeep that cost $150 less than regular price.
April Otts and Matthew Palmer were looking to get three LeapPad 2 devices, for their kids. They were third in line and were able to get two of the LeapPads, the maximum.
“They only had 20 and we could only get two,” Otts said. “It was just crazy in there. It was like a maze.”
Despite being among the first half-dozen into the store, it still took 45 minutes to get back out.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to do this again,” she said.
Several stores opened early Thanksgiving morning, some as early as 6 a.m. Others that opened later in the evening of Thanksgiving last year moved their hours up this year.
Several stores at The Mall at Barnes Crossing that opened at 10 p.m. last year opened at 8 p.m. on Thursday, as did several restaurants in the food court.
Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday selling season. “Black Friday” still is the biggest shopping day of the year, but more retailers are opening on Thanksgiving to get a jump on the competition. And with seven fewer shopping days this year than last between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many have dubbed Thanksgiving as “Gray Thursday.”
“They can call it White Wednesday if the deals are really good next year,” laughed Skylar Williams, who said she would probably shop through the night until about midday today.
“You know that saying ‘shop until you drop?’ That’s the plan.”