Shoppers Hit Stores for `Black Friday'

Article excerpt

Power shoppers were out in force Friday as thousands of people hit stores across Oklahoma on what those in the industry call "Black Friday" -- the biggest shopping day of the year.

Darlene Coffey, who was visiting Oklahoma from Kansas, had to stand in a line stretching four stores away just to get into K-B toys at Quail Springs Mall. She wanted an inflatable chair on sale for $8 -- $20 off regular price.

"I just didn't know how many people would be here or I would have come earlier," she said.

Crystal Ray was in line to buy a computer game and a rescue hero action figure for her son. She passed the time scanning the sale pamphlet.

K-B toys employee John Lawson was the ultimate gatekeeper. It was up to him when to allow another dozen or so shoppers enter the store because it would be dangerous to let them all in at once.

"A fire hazard is what we'd be dealing with," Lawson said.

The toy store opened at 5 a.m., an hour earlier than Wal-Mart and Toys R Us. There was a line extending six stores down the mall before it opened. And by the time some shoppers made it inside, K-B toys had sold out of what they wanted.

The store was out of scooters by about 7 a.m.

Debbie Varner waited in line for almost two hours to buy two Mickey Mouse train sets on sale for $19 each, which are regularly $50. Varner already had claimed a free snow globe from JCPenney and a Dalmatian Beanie Baby from The Disney Store because she was the second person through the door.

While Varner was rushing around, Woxie Ryal was relaxing in a cushioned chair outside Sears. He was playing chauffeur to his wife and 11-year-old granddaughter.

Ryal was one of several men sitting in chairs throughout Quail Springs Mall surrounded by piles of shopping bags.

Downtown holiday festivities

The KOCO-TV Festival of Lights Parade and other holiday festivities are scheduled at the Myriad Botanical Gardens on Saturday.

The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. with the Salvation Army holiday tree lighting at the Myriad Gardens. The annual Saturday with Santa kids' event is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and admission to the Crystal Bridge will be free after 4:30 p.m.

The parade will start at the corner of Couch and Hudson, go south to Sheridan and east to Mickey Mantle Drive in Bricktown. The parade is expected to end at 7 p.m.

New at Express

Express Services had hired five new employees

Terese Irwin is the new administrative assistant. She was assistant to the network systems administrator of Advance Alarms.

LeQuita Ackles is a workers compensation assistant. She was a payroll clerk for Tyson Foods in Alabama.

Dena Jerrie Snyder is a senior financial accountant. She was a bank examiner for the State Banking Department and an accountant at Union Bank.

Christy Yakel is a graphic designer. She was a graphic artist for Hobby Lobby.

Thomas Day is a programmer analyst. He was a senior programmer analyst for Netplex Group and Climate Masters.

Seeking Dome funds

State officials have asked U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts to write legislation clarifying the law regarding the use of federal transportation funds so that $3.6 million in federal enhancement funds can be used on the state Capitol dome project.

Watts, R-Okla., has agreed to help, but a spokesman said there may be few opportunities to add any such projects to the spending bills remaining to be passed by Congress. Watts will pursue other avenues.

State Transportation Secretary Neal McCaleb showed Watts the law regarding enhancement funds and asked him to write legislation that would clarify the law and qualify the dome project.

State officials have been frustrated by the Federal Highway Administration's interpretation that the Capitol dome project doesn't qualify for enhancement funds.

Enhancement funds are used for a variety of transportation- related projects, such as welcome centers and historic railroad depots, but are not used for highway repairs and construction. …