Black Friday discounts diminish, chaos takes a holiday

Nov 25, 2023

Cars drove slowly around Wareham Crossing as its occupants scouted out the best spot in the packed parking lot to begin their Black Friday shopping on Friday, Nov. 24.

Though the lot gave the appearance that many people were still participating in the annual tradition, some shoppers noticed how different the day has become across the country, especially since the Covid pandemic.

“It’s kind of quiet,” said Paula Salomonsen of Buzzards Bay, noting the lack of crowds at stores.

“I haven’t really seen any sales,” Salomonsen added.

Visiting family in Wareham for the holiday, Zach and Christine Muscarella made similar observations. 

“It’s nothing like the years since to Covid. It’s nothing like it’s been. It’s quiet,” Christine said.

However, the couple felt the sales were pretty much the same at stores as they shopped for clothing and books.

Kristen Clough of Falmouth said although there have been many changes, they are not necessarily bad ones.

She said when her kids were younger, she would go after the toys for Christmas, but now that they are older she looks more at the electronics on sale.

“But actually, I wasn't really after too much,” Clough said. “My friend asked me — she's from two hours away — but I actually just like coming out and it's kind of fun to putter around and if you get a sale you do.”

She added, “I think I tried to take a very low key attitude — even years ago when I've waited in lines to get in, but I think you realize you just have to kind of go in with a fun attitude around it.”

Clough said it is much easier to maintain a positive attitude going into the day because of how much the holiday has calmed down.

“There was an energy about it that was fun a little bit, but then you hear on the news that for some people it was too much,” she said, adding how her friend was in Texas on Black Friday years ago when someone shot another person over a Nintendo Switch.

Clough added she likes how some Black Friday sales are all week long and available online. That way she can do a little online shopping in addition to “puttering around” for the sales in person. However, she said some of the sales at stores have not recovered since Covid.

“I think the biggest thing is that it's just about enjoying the holiday,” she said. “I think that the change of Black Friday has added a little more fun back instead of the pressure.”

Joan Dickert as well as Bethany, Celia and Caitlin Walker agreed the day is more about being together than the actual shopping.

Celia said, “It's not necessarily about looking for anything in particular. We just have fun, but all four of us — all three generations — like we've gone out shopping together for a bunch of years so it's just a fun tradition more than anything.”

Bethany said she believes Black Friday has recovered since the Covid years, but “everything's gotten more expensive.”

Austin Davis and Amanda Viera, who came from Florida to see Davis’ grandmother, agreed the sales aren’t as good and it’s “less chaotic” at the stores.

“Overall I think they've gotten less tempting than in the past,” Viera said about the sales.

“I think with online shopping now, less people are coming to the malls and the outlets,” Davis said. “It's kind of sad to see, honestly, because I used to love going to the mall as a kid.”

Eyissha Poyser and Carol Campbell of Falmouth came out for Black Friday because Poyser needed a new TV. 

Poyser said she believes the sales are better than they were in the past at some stores and she appreciates having the choice of shopping online or in person.

Bill and Hannah Noonan were doing their Black Friday shopping with Lilia Whalley as the girls were looking for shoes and outfits for an upcoming event.

“A lot of people do stuff online now, so it seems like it's more manageable,” Bill said. “Even though the line at Old Navy was long, it was very quick. They were organized.”

Kim and Meg Borowski along with Margo and Danielle Newcombe said prices are higher, there are less bargains and less people.

“We definitely aren't hitting the same spots as much as we've had,” Meg said.

However, Kim said, “We're diehards and we'll keep coming.”