Black Friday is the most popular shopping day of the year, with friends and families rushing to local stores to take advantage of outrageous deals that kick off the holiday shopping season. However, long lines, packed stores, fighting over products and a surge of people are all things no one wants to be involved in this year. With the number of coronavirus cases still surging, popular stores and shoppers agree; Black Friday will look much different this year.
The pandemic has forced everyone to adjust to new things that haven’t been seen in the past. Many popular retail stores, like Target and Walmart, have announced Black Friday plans and agendas that seem to break past year’s traditions. However, being the busiest shopping day of the year, many consumers love to be apart of the large crowds and chaotic frenzy that ensues the night after Thanksgiving dinner. Daniel Curry, a journalism student at SUNY Brockport, agrees that sometimes it’s more about what you see, rather than what you save.
“I have gone Black Friday shopping for years. For me, it’s less about buying stuff and more about the experience,” Curry explained. “I think it is a fun thing to do, of course finding good deals on stuff is fun too.”
It is always fun to arrive at a store like Best Buy in the middle of the night to take advantage of doorbuster deals. However, this year, avid Black Friday shoppers like Curry are still hesitant to go out to stores, even after established precautions for customer safety.
“With COVID, I will most likely not be going out this year. I will probably just shop online,” Curry said, and “I hope people ask themselves if saving $100 on some random thing is worth putting yourself and others in danger.”
Popular retail stores know very well the risks that are involved with holding events and deals like they have in the past, and have made major changes to how Black Friday operate this year. Alyssa Birkholz, a senior associate at the Lake George Old Navy outlet, explains what that might look like.
Rather than holding all major deals on the same evening, the opportunities to save money will occur over the course of a few days.
“This year, we have a ‘Big Friday’ week,” Birkholz said. “The deals will be more spread out.”
She also explained what Old Navy and likely other stores are doing in order to keep shoppers safe.
“In order to keep everything COVID-19 safe, we limit the number of people in the store, require masks and clean our doors, carts and surfaces often,” she explains.
Birkholz, like other retail associates, expects that the crowds will not be as big as in the past, but still doesn’t quite know what to expect.
“I’m not sure what is expected for Black Friday but I suspect that it will be busy. The store has been consecutively busy since we began our extended sale and I expect to see the same if not more of a turnout on Black Friday Weekend,” Birkholz said.
She also expects that the number of online orders will be significant this year, and there will be great deals, if not better, on their website as well. With the way major retail stores, like Target and Old Navy are approaching the situation, they do deserve some credit for trying their best to give consumers the deals and experiences they want, all while making sure they’re as safe as possible. But as we’ve seen, even with standard health precautions put into place, people are still at risk of contracting the virus, as we continue to see spikes in cases. All of this will be a major deterrent for shoppers. BlackFriday.Com has predicted a 7.5 percent decrease in spending totals this year, and expects that stores will instead compete for online sales this season. With all the uncertainties that have been sprung upon us in recent times, one thigs is for sure. Black Friday will be unrecognizable compared to years in the past.