By Krista M. Madkins
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen residents searched for the best Black Friday deals as they got an early start on their Christmas shopping.
"We opened at midnight, and the line was all the way down and around to the sidewalk and around the corner to the privacy fence, and on Tuesday, the tents were already out," said Mark Mayes, product process manager at Best Buy in Killeen.
According to a preliminary report released by the National Retail Federation, up to 152 million people plan to shop this weekend, an increase from the 138 million people who planned to do so last year.
On Friday, Best Buy employees passed out tickets for big items to customers who were first in line along the sidewalk. Mayes said the tickets represented the number of certain big-ticket products that were available in the store.
After the store opened its doors, 50 customers at a time were allowed in. Mayes said this was to maintain the number of customers in the store by adhering to the maximum occupancy number, as prescribed by the fire department.
"The last group of customers who waited in line entered the store at about 2 a.m.," he said.
Stephanie Schultz, a Black Friday customer at Best Buy in Killeen, said she got up and made her way there around 6 a.m. Although she wanted to take advantage of an LCD television deal, she found another one that interested her.
The parking lot at Academy Sports & Outdoors was full around 5 a.m., as customers were allowed in to shop. Around 8 a.m., the Black Friday scene was calmer.
"Well, if you went to H-E-B or Walmart or somewhere like that, it was like crazy, but if you went to Sears, Lowes or here, it was calm," said Cassandra Ward, an Academy Sports & Outdoors shopper.
"They called the cops because two ladies were on the ground fighting over a camera," she added, recalling the start of her Black Friday shopping in Walmart at 10 p.m. Thursday.
Tyler Huber, manager of Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q, said he got up early Friday for preparation of the restaurant's discounted biscuit and egg tacos for Black Friday shoppers.
"It is just a way to promote us selling tacos and a way to give back to those who are stimulating the economy," said Huber.