Star Wars rush hits local toy stores

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    By JENNIFER SVENDSEN

    Around midnight Sunday, customers at the Orem Toys “R” Us started banging on the doors, demanding to be let in.

    “It was crazy,” said Kara Hayes, a cashier at the store.

    The reason for it being crazy at the toy store was that the new Star Wars paraphernalia was released at 12:01 a.m. Monday, featuring figurines, toys and even Legos for the new film of the series scheduled to hit theaters later this month.

    “I heard one person spent nine hundred,” Hayes said. “The largest amount that came through my register was $560.”

    Hayes said most of her transactions were in the hundreds. The store did not impose limits on what the customers could buy, and the merchandise was first come first serve.

    Ryan Thorne, a Star Wars fan from Pleasant Grove, heard about the paraphernalia on television.

    “It’s been on every news cast I’ve watched,” Thorne said.

    Thorne visited the store Monday because he builds model kits as a hobby.

    “I’m trying to find the model kits of the space craft and things of the series,” Thorne said. “I’ve just been a fan of the series since I was yea high.” Thorne said he is so excited about the film that he is taking the day off work to go see it.

    Collette Parker, a sales associate at Kids “R” Us in Orem, said she was informed by a Toys “R” Us employee that the store sold $20,000 worth of merchandise between midnight and 8:00 a.m. Parker said that in her own store customers are really excited about the merchandise.

    Keri Bruderer, an early morning customer at Kids “R” Us, said “the Star Wars stuff is featured in front. They [the customers] just go right over to it first thing.”

    “We opened the doors and it was a run,” said Amy White, a supervisor at Toys “R” Us, who said the line from the store extended down to R.C. Willey. “There were four to six hundred people…. The front display was empty in like a minute.

    “People were coming in with handfuls of carts and throwing things into the carts. They would run to other areas of the store and haggle and swap.”

    White said the customers held auctions to determine who got what merchandise. The customers were made up of people of all ages, White said.

    White said that so far, Darth Maul has been the most popular character. She said that consumers got all of the information about the merchandise from the Internet and friends.

    Even though the store had such large crowds and sales volumes, Hayes said they still have a lot of merchandise available to customers.

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