Stores crowded but orderly Thursday, Friday

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald A shopper leaves Walmart after a successful trip Thanksgiving night.

MOSES LAKE — Judging from the parking lot on Stratford Road Thanksgiving night, all that talk about most Christmas shopping going online is a little exaggerated.

Some stores were open, others weren’t, but the parking lots were buzzing. And there were plenty of shoppers who waited until Friday, or maybe just had more shopping to do. When the Moses Lake Home Depot opened at 6 a.m. Friday, “we had almost 400 people at the door, waiting to get in,” said manager Jim Cook.

The whole early-shopping experience has its own mythology, a lot of it featuring obsessed shoppers. For Ramiro Martinez, “this is my first time” shopping on Thanksgiving night, he said as he stood in the long line at the Moses Lake Walmart. But his experience buying a new television and audio equipment went surprisingly well. “Nothing crazy,” he said. “I was expecting the movies.”

Casey McDowall and family member Heather Howell are veterans. “We come because it’s tradition. We have to burn off some of those turkey calories,” McDowall said as she searched for her receipt.

Judging by the questions asked and conversations held, some families were looking for presents, or at the Christmas decorations, or were just out to be out, Cook said. “It’s just – Christmas.”

McDowall and Howell found everything they were looking for. “Oh, yes,” McDowall said.

“And more,” Howell said. She didn’t know she was looking for those consumer electronics and children’s toys until she saw them, she said.

While a lot of people were out looking for Christmas presents and good deals, the crowd was orderly, and McDowall gave credit to the Walmart staff. “Kudos to the employees. They’ve all been very nice, very friendly,” she said, still searching for the receipt.

“But I can’t find my receipt.”

All was well, however. The receipt did turn up.

The crowds were still pretty big Friday morning, and shoppers knew what they wanted. “We sold out of poinsettias in 22 minutes today,” Cook said.

“We are slammed.”

A lot of people weren’t feeling the whole online thing, to judge by the aisles Thursday night and Friday morning. “(Customers) like to see it,” to look at the merchandise and check if it’s really what they want before they buy it, Cook said.

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