Beer and expensive cuts of meat were among the first things to go.

One enterprising man got around the shortage of shopping carts by bringing a wheelbarrow.

Imagine a shopping mall the day before Christmas and you’ll have an idea of the scene Monday morning at the Maybank Highway Piggly Wiggly, where a half-price sale on everything began at 6 a.m.

“It reminds me of the day after (Hurricane) Hugo at K-Mart,” said Glenn Hiott, of West Ashley, who shared his shopping cart with another person because carts were in short supply.

The Maybank Highway store is among a number of local Piggly Wiggly stores that are being sold, and it was the first to have a half-off sale to clear the shelves. Also Monday the Northbridge Piggly Wiggly in West Ashley and the Festival Center store in North Charleston — both of which will be closing — started 25-percent-off sales.

The half-off sale at the Maybank Highway store, in the James Island Shopping Center, had shoppers circling the parking lot looking for spaces, and following people out of the store to ask for their carts.

“We were here at about 5:30,” said Carmen Winter, of North Charleston, as she loaded her car with groceries at 10 a.m. “I’m tired now.”

“The meat was going pretty quick,” she said.

Those who couldn’t find a shopping cart got creative, using anything with wheels, including store display items. Others grabbed large paper bags that are used for yard waste and re-purposed them as grocery holders.

Winter said shoppers had lined up down the sidewalk waiting for the store to open. Even with every checkout line open, shoppers with overloaded carts were lined up from the cash registers at the front of the store to the meat counter in the back.

“I shopped for half an hour, and stood in line for an hour and a half, with a baby,” said Andrea Frisco, who drove from Park Circle for the sale. “I bought things I never buy, like truffle oil.”

Shoppers descended on the meat aisle like locusts on a corn field. The beer cases looked like several bus loads of college students on spring break had just paid a visit.

“I bought tons of spices, and coffee,” Frisco said. “And lots of beer — my husband will be happy.”

David Errthum, of James Island, said he arrived at 6 a.m., bought a cart-load of groceries, then went back for more.

“The first load was mostly beer,” he said.

Around 10 a.m. Errthum was back in line with two more overloaded carts, and a case of wine on the floor that he was pushing along with his foot. The carts contained everything from crackers to an enormous tube of ground Angus beef.

“I’m self-employed, so I don’t have to call my boss to get off work,” he said.

Piggly Wiggly Carolina is in the process of selling 22 corporate-owned stores to Bi-Lo and seven to Harris Teeter, many of them in the Charleston market. Other Piggly Wiggly locations are likely to announce sales in the coming days or weeks as they clear their shelves for the sale.

However, some stores may be discounting Piggly Wiggly-brand items only. For example, the store at Folly Road Crossing shopping center started selling Pig brand items Saturday for 30 percent off.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.