SIKESTON - Eyes might be a little droopy, clothes a tad wrinkled and every hair may not be in place.
But they're not there to impress anyone. They're out to find the best bargains and not even sleep will keep them from completing their mission.
"Don't worry about your hair, your make-up or your clothes because nobody's going to pay any attention to what you look like, they're there for one thing," assured Pam Little.
While some may scoff, there are countless individuals who look forward to the day after Thanksgiving so they can get up early and hit the stores.
Alecia Jordan says she tries to get up around 6 a.m. and leave the house by 7 a.m. on the big shopping day. Somehow she even manages to persuade husband Jeromy to accompany her.
"It gets him in the Christmas mood," she said. "My husband does a lot of things that most men won't do just to make me happy. But I do think he just gets into all of the seasonal things that surround this shopping day! This year we also get to take our 2-year old daughter, Ashton, which I'm sure is going to be 'lots of fun,'" she quipped.
Little usually is at the stores between 6-6:30 a.m., something she has done for a long time. "I go myself, starting in Sikeston and then going to Cape. It's a lot of fun and last year I ran into some of my old classmates so that was fun. I like the bargains and the hustle and bustle. People are usually following me with their carts because I go so fast. I usually end my Christmas shopping on this day and I'm done by 10:30 a.m.," she laughed.
But as the pros will tell you, there's a method to the madness. A plan has to be made in order to get the best buys, considering there will be countless other shoppers after the same item.
"We just usually wing it. If I find a good bargain (yes, I'm a bargain shopper), I pick it up and figure out who to give it to later," said Jordan
Patience, she said, is a must. "I haven't really found that it's unbearably crowded in places until 10 a.m. or so. That's one reason why we start so early in the morning."
Jordan says she typically doesn't find great bargains, it's just the whole idea. "For me it's the mad rush that gets my adrenaline flowing."
Most consumers don't think about all the preparation that goes into the big shopping day, with merchants spending days and weeks making certain everything is ready and that shoppers will find a wide assortment of good buys.
Goody's has its store stocked with merchandise as well as early morning sale items such as a scratch off for 10-50 percent off for gift cards, vacations, diamond tennis bracelets and heart pendants from 6-6:30 a.m. And from 6 a.m. to noon shoppers were able to take advantage of the store's door busters.
Zelma Lutes, Goody's manager, said: "People were lined up early this morning, ready to shop," she said. "There's a lot of traffic and the lines are backed up but everyone's in good spirits and we're all having a lot of fun.
"It's funny to watch our customers running in here and going after a certain item they saw in the paper," she said. "You see the faces of those who got what they came after and it's fun to watch. We have all our associates working and we've added staff."
The Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores opened at 8 a.m. today except for Bass, Van Heusen and Rue 21 which started an hour earlier. And according to Lisa Neumeyer they were ready for the busy day. "The stores have been working hard getting all of their new merchandise stocked, sale signs up and getting ready for shoppers," said the manager.
Neumeyer said consumers have good prices on gifts for the holidays to look forward to, with many stores offering additional percentages off for the early birds. "Shoppers will notice all of the exciting changes taking place at the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores. Santa will make his arrival today and will be available for pictures and visiting today and on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22."
A tip Jordan had for the inexperienced is to first thumb through the fliers for those looking for something specific. She said the short hours for sales makes it practically impossible to shop for somethings in particular on this day.
That's where Lowe's comes in, said manager Tyler Russom.
"What we do on what we call Super Friday is have special bargains all day long. We open at 7 a.m. and there are people waiting in line but normally we don't get busy until 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. because people are trying to get to the places that have the 6-11 a.m. sales. It helps the customers who are trying to rush around and get to every place before the sales are off. At Lowe's you can take your time because the sales are all day long."
In addition to tools being the most poplar item for Super Friday shoppers, Russom noted it's also the first big weekend for poinsettia sales.
Stay away from the layaway department, warned Little. "They're all in line in layaway so don't even go in that direction. Check-out in jewelry or sporting goods."