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Shoppers hit stores early - real early - as they hunt for bargains

Instead of playing board games and eating pumpkin pie until midnight on Thanksgiving, Black Friday shoppers grabbed their wallets, sales papers and Christmas lists and hit the road to local hot spots. 

While some stores opened their doors Thanksgiving evening, others waited to welcome the crowds before sunrise Friday. 

The loyal, tireless shoppers forwent sleep altogether and set out on a 3 a.m. mission to get the best deals at JCPenney in Central Mall, where they tried on outfit after outfit as 8-year-old Kevin McCallister did during his overnight mall extravaganza in the movie "Home Alone."

Cinterria Bostick, a sales associate at JCPenney, worked the evening shift during JCPenney's initial Black Friday opening at 2 p.m. Thursday. 

Bostick said before the doors opened there was a line of shoppers "wrapped around the building" as they waited to receive coupons, ranging from $10 off a purchase of $10 or more to the coveted $500 off $500.

Bostick clocked out at 10:30 p.m. Thursday to go home, but while she was sleeping, JCPenney was still in business and busy with night owl shoppers. 

When Bostick returned at 9 a.m. Friday, she continued to greet costumers, scan merchandise and experience all the joys, rather than the stresses, of Black Friday, her "favorite time of year," she said.

"Everybody's happy. The time goes by fast. Everybody's laughing," Bostick said. "It's just fun. Everybody's preparing for Christmas. Families are bonding."

During her down time, Bostick took part in the Black Friday hype and bought a JCPenney comforter, which was regularly priced $54, for $14.99, she said.

April Snow, a beauty adviser at Sephora inside JCPenney, said from midnight to 8 a.m. Friday Sephora customers bought $1,900 worth of merchandise.

"We had two workers last night," she said. "There were people coming in at 2 a.m., getting their makeup done."

Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Cement resident Tony Chaney sat in a makeup chair inside Sephora, holding an armful of shopping bags, as his sister, Carma, who lives in Chickasha, picked out makeup kits for family Christmas presents.

Chaney said they left Chickasha at 5 a.m., stopped by the mall, went to Hobby Lobby and then returned to the mall.

"My sister's doing all the shopping," he said. "(I'm) helping her carry stuff."

Another man who enjoys helping others during Christmastime is Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, also known as Central Mall's Santa Claus, who is sometimes called Lawtonian Francis Fech.

Santa Claus said he parked his sleigh a few blocks away from the mall because the parking lot was so full. 

Despite his long trek to the mall, he enjoys Black Friday, he said. He can't be present at Central Mall and the North Pole simultaneously, so Black Friday shoppers provide an extra hand to his busy elves. 

"They (family members) are helping me with the gifts," Santa Claus said.

People across the nation have been working as hard as Santa's elves this year, including Kelly Rock-Smith and her husband, Stephen Smith, who traveled from Washington, D.C., to visit her family in Lawton, her hometown.

The Lawton Constitution

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