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Huge crowds hit Ala. stores despite rain, game


The Associated Press



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Heavy rains and a big college football game didn''t stop crowds from turning out for shopping deals on the day after Thanksgiving, with some people even camping outside stores early Friday waiting for the bargains to begin. 




Thousands of people lined up outside Birmingham-area stores in the pre-dawn rain looking for low prices on items like clothes, televisions and home computers. In Huntsville, Kathy Arnold was in line outside a Toys R Us store not long after lunch on Thanksgiving Day. 




"I knew if I didn''t come early that I wouldn''t make it in the door and get the deals I''m going to get for my kids," said Arnold, who arrived about 2 p.m. Thursday and was first in line. 




Shoppers got in a few hours of browsing and buying before the annual Alabama-Auburn game kicked off at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, with the No. 2 Tigers playing for a shot at the national title and the No. 9 Crimson Tide looking to play the spoiler. 




Pete Hardy walked around a Sears store in Prattville about 4:30 a.m. Friday with his hands full of socket sets, tool bags and packs of screwdrivers. With his foot, he shoved a cardboard box holding a rechargeable drill along on the floor on his way to the cash register. 




"I''ve go too much stuff," he said with a smile. "Socket sets for 10 bucks, you can''t beat that. These are Christmas presents for guys at the hunting camp. I''m going to put this stuff on the counter and go back to get a set of those swivel head Gear Wrenches. These prices are worth getting up early for." 




Auburn University student Shane Smith was first in a line of hundreds at a Best Buy in Opelika, hoping to snag a laptop computer for $250 below the usual price. He was sharing a tent with three friends outside the store. 




"They have laptops that are a really good deal," Smith said. 




The rain was supposed to taper off through the afternoon, and temperatures were forecast to fall below freezing across north Alabama by early Saturday.




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