Shoppers take advantage of delightful weather and big sales as they browse the stores at a Montgomery, Ala., shopping mall Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. Shoppers didn’t just stay up all night to get the best Black Friday deals the day after Thanksgiving. They also drove miles — sometimes for hours — to get to their favorite stores for the bargains. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Distance was no object for some Alabama shoppers looking for the best Black Friday deals.
The Sprinkle family traveled almost 200 miles from the Mobile County town of Coden to Montgomery on a trip that combined three favorite family activities: football, hunting and shopping.
The Sprinkle family was among thousands who visited shopping areas across the state Friday. Traffic was heavy around the massive Riverchase Galleria mall in suburban Birmingham.
Shopping was reportedly heavy, but without major problems in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville and Hoover Friday.
John Sprinkle, 55, of Coden, and his family were able to find most of the items on their lists as they strolled casually from store to store at Montgomery’s Eastdale Mall, some family members munching on ice cream cones. The shopping feel between hunting and plans by some family members to attend Saturday’s Iron Bowl football game between Alabama and Auburn in Tuscaloosa.
Breanna Sprinkle, John’s 14-year-old niece, said she was surprised that clothing items she wanted were still available at about 11 a.m. Friday, long after the early morning or Thursday night openings of many stores.
“I was surprised that there was still something left,” Breanna Sprinkle said. She said she doesn’t see what the big deal is about getting up at 3 a.m. or starting to shop the night before.
“Some people just want to sleep,” she said.
She described one large box store as “a mad house” with people squabbling over special deals and in one case throwing lettuce at each other.
Another Friday shopper in the parking lot of Eastdale Mall had some advice for store and shopping center managers.
“My suggestion would be to get bigger buggies,” said 54-year-old Janet Kelly of Hope Hull as she loaded up her car as she and her friend, Kim Young, 55, prepared to go to another shopping area.
“We’ve still got money to spend, but they didn’t have enough buggies,” Kelly said.
She said they were still looking for pajamas when they ran out of room in their carts.
At a nearby Toys “R” Us store, 41-year old Sidney Williams said he had driven more than 40 miles from Chilton County to shop in Montgomery. He wasn’t an early bird, getting started at about 10 a.m. But he was surprised how easy it was to find what he was looking for.
“I found everything I needed. It wasn’t bad,” Williams said.
Most shoppers, after getting past the initial parking hassles and lines getting in stores, said they were pleasantly surprised that most merchandise they needed was available.
24-year-old Jasmine Haynes said her trip to a Montgomery shopping area was mostly “hassle free” except for one rude cashier. She said she came shopping looking for ladies clothing that was on sale and ended up finding other things she wanted.
“The shelves were full of stuff,” she said.