Pandemic fails to deter in-person Black Friday shoppers
A Black Friday without long lines, full parking lots and packed stores seemed to appeal to shoppers this year who would have typically avoided the madness the day after Thanksgiving.
With stores extending deals, opening later, keeping the amount of staff members lower and offering curbside pickup, they aimed to keep the crowding to a minimum.
At Paseo Nuevo Mall, where most stores didn’t open until 9 a.m., it seemed as though it was just a regular day of shopping. Lines outside were few and far between in the initial hours of opening, and shoppers were routinely masked up and socially distanced.
Jim Weng was standing in line for Gap, and said that most people seem to be wearing masks and sanitizing.
“I feel safe with all the masks,” he told the News-Press. “Everyone is wearing them.”
Kimberly Roth and her toddler were also in line at Gap, and she told the News-Press that the pandemic didn’t really change any of her Christmas shopping plans.
“I actually feel like I’m safer out now than I would in other years because there’s nobody out here,” she said.
Ms. Roth added that the pandemic didn’t necessarily increase her online shopping either.
“I always do online shopping,” she said. “It’s easier with a toddler. This doesn’t really change anything.”
Becky Hoffman was browsing stores in Paseo Nuevo, and said that she and her family came to shop in person to just get up and walk around after the holiday.
“I do feel safe because there’s fewer people, but I would say probably 75% of the gifts we buy are going to be online this year,” she told the News-Press. “We do this more for tradition.”
Outside Brandy Melville, Janet Willford and her son were waiting as her daughter shopped inside the clothing store.
“I feel completely safe,” Ms. Willford told the News-Press. “There’s been very few lines, very few people shopping, and store owners have definitely been monitoring the numbers and limiting people.
“To be honest, this is one of the first times I’ve been Black Friday shopping in years,” she added. “Because there’s less people, it won’t be so crazy with parking. It doesn’t even feel like Black Friday to be honest.”
Sergio Pavan started his Black Friday shopping at Lululemon, where there was a slight line outside.
“I feel safe as long as people are distanced apart,” he told the News-Press. “They have the little markers everywhere, so I feel good about it.”
He said that he very rarely goes Black Friday Shopping either, but he thought it’d be good to get out of the house this year.
“It (the store) looks pretty empty from the outside,” Mr. Pavan said. “I feel pretty comfortable with my mask on.”
Ashley Snider and her daughter, Greer, were also waiting outside Lululemon. Greer said that with masks and store occupancy limits, she felt comfortable shopping in person.
“They’re keeping it not very packed inside, so I think it’s OK,” Ms. Snider told the News-Press.
When asked if she usually goes Black Friday shopping, her response was: “No, I usually avoid it like the plague, but i figure the stores need it.”
She added that she hopes there’s a drive to shop locally this Black Friday.
“I was thinking I could do this online, but then we thought, ‘Why don’t we come down and do it at the store?’” Ms. Snider said. “It’s a very interesting time.”