Some people stood in pre-dawn freezing temperatures. Others waited until the sun came out. They all carried sales brochures, shopping lists, and cell phones. The post Thanksgiving shoppers knew they had just 26 shopping days left until Christmas.
Michelle Mikulenka pushed a stroller through Toys R Us. Her mom pushed the shopping cart. They seemed lost. So, Mikulenka stopped a store employee. "Sir, where is your Perfect Kitties," she asked.
Just like that, Mikulenka's Christmas shopping hit a bump in the road.
The employee said, "They're sold out." The Christmas shopping list couldn't be finished.
Seventeen month old Aiden could care less. He slept in the stroller. Maybe the sleeping tot was dreaming about what Santa would leave under his Christmas tree. "We want him awake though," his mom said, "so we know what toys he wants to get."
Mikulenka's mom laughed at that statement. Kay Geffken said a sleeping child is a good child, especially when you're buying Christmas presents, "because if he is awake, then he'll want everything that we see."
A few aisles away, Linda Holmes had so many Barbie and Disney accessories in her cart, it looked like she bought everything she saw. According to Holmes, the shopping spree was "a combination of Santa and grandparent, too."
Grandparents sure were busy on this day after Thanksgiving. Roger Urbano stood behind an empty shopping cart. "We've got 11 grandkids," the Diamondhead man said, "and we don't know where to start."
Lisa Smith started with the bargains. "I've got three boys," she said. "And this fits my budget."
On the day after Thanksgiving, cash registers never stopped spitting out holiday receipts. That surprised store manager Mike Statham. "We are several hours ahead of ourselves from last year," said Statham. "I don't know what's done it other than just a lot of smiling faces and happy people."
Imagine how happy little Aiden will be when he wakes up Christmas morning and sees what Santa brought him.
An ABC News poll suggests, however, that today's shopping spree won't last much longer. The average American is only supposed to spend $830 on Christmas presents. That's only a couple of dollars more than last year. And 2001 was the worst holiday shopping season in at least a decade.