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CHRISTMAS SALES RUSH HAS BEGUN

Martha Keeling checks out – and buys – boxes of Fred Meyer socks. (The Pilot/Ryn Gargulinski).
Martha Keeling checks out – and buys – boxes of Fred Meyer socks. (The Pilot/Ryn Gargulinski).

By Ryn Gargulinski

Pilot staff writer

For Martha Keeling, Black Friday was all about socks.

Well, maybe not all of it – this Crescent City resident was at Brookings' Fred Meyer also stocking up on a DVD player, miscellaneous gifts and household items at around 9 a.m.

"The kitchen gadgets are wonderful," Keeling said. "It's buy one get one free."

While Keeling's day started at 3:30 a.m., others slept in when it came Black Friday shopping.

Tamara Sweeney didn't get up until 4 a.m.

"It's not as good as last year," said Tamara Sweeney of the Fred Meyer sales. She still had a cart full of baby wear and toys.

Also a Crescent City resident, Sweeney began her shopping spree at Wal-Mart, where she said she found bigger bargains.

Others found the early morning Wal-Mart crush unbearable.

"It was insane," said Carole Gardner, who trekked to Wal-Mart from her home in Brookings prior to stopping at her hometown's Fred Meyer. "We couldn't even take it, and had to leave."

Gardener was shopping with her daughter Michelle McGilvary, visiting from Vacaville, Calif., who was helping push the shopping cart laden with about $600 worth of merchandise.

"It would be more like $800 without the sales," Gardener said, while her daughter added, "Mom likes to get bargains."

Fred Meyer store director Matt Galli said a lot of people were liking to get bargains.

Upon checking the register tape at 9 a.m., he said sales had already surpassed last year's at that time.

Perhaps not enough to shut the store for the rest of the year and live off the profits, he said, but "a good start to the holiday season."

Galli said biggest sellers so far had been plasma TVs, Xboxes, board games and, of course, socks.

"People have showed up," he said.

And not so many that it would put the fear into man – or woman.

"It was hard to fall asleep with the anxiety," said Fred Meyer apparel associate Laurie Cogan. "I thought the line would be up to the back of the store."

Many Fred Meyer employees, like Cogan, had a 4:30 a.m. staring time, but were relieved they had not been crushed when the doors opened.

"It didn't start out as ‘Whooosh,' " said apparel manager Diana Orman, "but everything seems to be balanced."

Despite its special early opening and sales, no massive onslaught of customers hit the Port of Brookings Harbor, either, according to The Book Dock's Cynthia Voortman.

"It's been going OK," Voortman said. "People aren't used to being up and they come in and say ‘Wow, you're open.'

"It's been moderate," she said.

Not everyone early morning shopping on Black Friday was doing anything out of the ordinary.

"I'm kind of an early bird," said Harbor resident Deane Longo, who at Fred Meyer but not shopping for gifts, bargains or socks but rather poinsettias.

"I don't need anything," she said. "I came to maybe get a little Christmas spirit."

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