Holiday Sales Bring Shoppers Out Early

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Lori Standifird arrived at the Payson Wal-Mart Supercenter at 4:45 a.m. Friday.

Like hundreds of other area residents, Standifird braved the darkness and frosty air to take advantage of early bird discounts -- also known as "doorbuster sales" -- which were available from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday.

"The parking lot was packed when I got here at 4:45 a.m. -- it was amazing," Standifird said. "But it's definitely paid off in savings, from what I've seen."

Standifird said deals on electronics like flat-screen televisions and digital cameras motivated her to breach the blankets so early in the morning after the Thanksgiving holiday.

"I got up at 4:15 a.m. to be here at 4:45, and from the looks of the crowd -- I got here late. These aisles were packed," Standifird said.

One deal in particular attracted a crowd in the electronics department. Nationwide, Wal-Mart offered an HP Pavilion laptop computer for $378. Financial analysts predicted it would be one of the must-have deals of the season.

In Orlando, Fla., a brawl broke out inside a Wal-Mart store as shoppers competed for the heavily discounted laptop. But Justin Biehler, co-manager at the local Wal-Mart, said that was not the case in Payson Friday morning. "Our community is very good about that. They're friendly to each other. We don't get the mad rush," he said.

Standifird agreed.

"As big as the crowd was, everybody was very polite, nice and cordial," she said. "Sometimes, in crowds like these, things can get ugly, but not here. I think it's because we have a small-town community."

The laptops and other electronic doorbuster items sold out.

Biehler said they don't have the final numbers in for the 5 a.m. early bird sale, but he believed it was better than last year. On average, studies show Americans will spend $1,100 on Christmas gifts this year. That's $200 more than last year.

The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because, traditionally, it's the day many retailers go from operating in the red, to making a profit.

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