Shopping trumps turkey for many

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – For Tim and Tempi McKinney of Fulton, there was no turkey and dressing, no green bean casserole or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
“It was McDonald’s,” said Tim McKinney. “If we do want turkey and all that, we’ll get it on the way back.”
The McKinneys wanted to be first in line to buy a tablet on sale at Toys R Us, and they succeeded, having arrived at 12:30 Thursday afternoon.
They were buying the tablet for themselves since “the kids are too old for toys,” he said.
The McKinneys were among hundreds, if not thousands, of shoppers across Northeast Mississippi choosing to spend part of their Thanksgiving waiting in line and then shopping at stores. Their goal: to snap up the Black Friday deals and bargains.
But many retailers started earlier, opening on Thanksgiving. Toys R Us and Sears opened at 8 p.m. and Walmart started its deals at the same time. The Mall at Barnes Crossing opened at midnight for the first time.
At Sears, it was a father-and-sons gathering at the west entrance.
John Roblelack and his sons, Cameron and Thomas, all wanted the same thing: a 50-inch Toshiba LED high-definition TV for a $299.99.
“We got here at 12:30,” Cameron Roblelack said. That was good enough to get them at the front of the line, which had stretched to Barnes & Noble by 5 p.m.
The Toronto natives said the Black Friday shopping rush is unique to the United States, although they said Canada is starting to pick up on the idea.
John and Cameron Roblelack now live in Starkville, where Cameron attends Mississippi State. Thomas Roblelack is in law school at Ole Miss.
And yes, they’ll be attending Saturday’s Egg Bowl battle between the schools.
“I’m rooting for whoever wins,” John Roblelack said.
About 100 feet from the front door was a very pregnant Cynthia Allison from Dennis. She was joined by her mother, Nina Thorne. After Thanksgiving lunch in Tupelo, the duo got to Sears around 4:30.
“She might go into labor while we wait,” Thorne said with a laugh.
They, too, were hoping to get a great deal on a TV.
“I’m getting it for my fiance,” said Allison, whose baby boy is due Dec. 13. “I’m getting a flatiron – that’s all I want.”
At Toys R Us, Candice Harlow had arrived not long after the McKinneys. After a Thanksgiving meal in Nettleton, she had three items she wanted.
“I’m in line for a Barbie Escalade, a doll house and a LeapPad,” she said. “But I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all in the car.”
She wasn’t the only family member out shopping. “My dad is at Best Buy and my husband is at Sears,” she said.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com