After Thanksgiving Day Shopping Day

Friday, November 26th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Thousands of shoppers kicked off the Christmas shopping season bright and early Friday morning. Several malls and stores opening as early as 6 AM reported long lines of anxious shoppers waiting outside their doors.

It takes brave souls to venture into post-Thanksgiving Day shopping crowds, but there were plenty willing. Some Gordman's in Tulsa customers said with little time to shop, they have to take advantage of a Friday off work, and they're looking for bargains. Experts predict that warm weather and a hot economy will ring up $184-billion in sales this season, 6% above last year. Jack Schommer, Gordman's Manager says "in the past I've been cautiously optimistic; this year I'm extremely optimistic. We're having a terrific day after. Terrific." One report estimates we'll spend an average of $500 per family.

Laura Swatsenbarg, a shopper, says she'll spend more for good reason. "More, because I have a baby this year, and I can't help buying lots and lots of stuff for her." Traffic can create the biggest holiday headaches, but it flowed smoothly around Promenade Mall at 41st and Yale, and most shoppers said travel was easy. Another shopper, James Wiley added "it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone's just mingling around, having a good time, doing the best they can."

Since Gordman's offers on line sales, it's not among many traditional retailers concerned about an expected rise in E-commerce. To battle that, some stores are offering creative customer service options, such as entertainment for kids who don't yet appreciate shopping. And full staff, who said they found no scrooges among shoppers. Schommer says "No, not a lot of crankiness, not a lot of stress. Everybody really and truly happy though."

Perhaps none happier than Sherry McDonald of Claremore. Up at 2:30 AM Friday to seize the day. "I've got all mine done." It's hard not to be mad at people like that. For those of us who've not even begun shopping, there's an encouraging word.

A trade report says that last year, nearly 50% of Americans did their holiday shopping in the ten days before Christmas, with only nine percent buying presents during this Thanksgiving weekend.