Mikayla Putman worked a Thanksgiving Day shift at the Oak Park assisted living center before heading to Kmart to grab a 50-inch television at an evening pre-Black Friday sale.
From there, the Roseburg woman and her boyfriend, Donovan Stirewalt of Eugene, camped out overnight at Fred Meyer, waiting for that store’s 5 a.m. opening to pick up a Sony Playstation 3. The store had only been guaranteed 10 of them, so Putman made sure she was first in line outside the garden center door leading to Freddy’s electronics section.
“There was only one person at the other door when we got here at 11:30 p.m.,” Putman said. “He was sleeping in his car.”
Putman and Stirewalt brought some chairs and blankets and dozed off here and there.
“Every time we woke up, there were more people,” Stirewalt said.
By the time the store opened — five minutes early — there were several hundred people waiting to go inside.
Nicole Plummer was fifth in line and had also come early for a Playstation. She rushed past Putman and Stirewalt, grabbed the video game box and made it first to the cash register.
With a Thursday night trip to Walmart to cash in on that store’s early specials and purchases at other stores, the Roseburg resident got a head start on her holiday shopping.
“I’m about done shopping for Christmas,” she said.
At 5:10 a.m., Glide resident Kathy Roles grabbed several pairs of half-price socks from boxes stacked inside the middle doors next to Fred Meyer’s jewelry section. She arrived after the store opened, but was able to find an open parking space and walk right in.
“It’s just that one insane day where you have to go out and shop,” Roles said.
She shopped for Wii video games that were on special Thursday evening at Walmart. A large number of people came for that store’s early-bird specials, she said.
“You couldn’t even walk through the store. It was wall-to-wall people,” she said.
The turnout at Fred Meyer was encouraging, store director Shelley Robinson said. The early morning crowd totaled about 40 percent more than last year, she said.
“A lot of people don’t want to come out for this,” she said, pointing to the large crowd. “We have a three-day sale so we expect to have an awesome weekend.”
Jackie Parret of Roseburg went to Kmart for that store’s 5 a.m. opening.
“I got a pair of shoes for $10,” Parret said.
Entering Walmart a few minutes later, she said she was planning to browse.
“I’m not coming for anything particular here,” she said.
Bill and Pam Kohlhoff from Green hit Staples and Bi-Mart first, then planned to go to the Douglas County Farmer’s Co-op, Lowe’s and Home Depot.
They picked up a computer security system at Staples and a hand mixer and jeans at Bi-Mart.
“I’m the last of the big-time spenders,” Pam Kohlhoff said, laughing.
At the Dutch Bros. drive-through on Garden Valley Boulevard, business was steady from 5 p.m. Thursday through this morning, regional manager Casey O’Toole said.
“Our night shift last night was as busy as our Black Friday day shift normally is,” he said.
He attributed the heavy business to a number of retail stores that held Thursday evening and midnight sales, increasing the number of people out on Thanksgiving.
“When I started doing this five years ago, it got busy at 4 o’clock, then 3 o’clock. Now they’re coming even earlier,” he said.
Pointing to a line of seven cars that had remained steady during much of the early morning, O’Toole said the business provided an “instant check on the economy,” which he said was looking up.
“For us, it’s been 24 hours of mad fun,” he said. “There’s a lot of smiling faces coming through the line.”
• Reporter John Sowell can be reached at 541-957-4209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s just that one insane day where you have to go out and shop.