During Fashion Fair’s Black Friday midnight opening, JCPenney’s entranceways were closed off, causing crowding and confusion among shoppers trying to get through the mall.

Black Friday is a big bust

During Fashion Fair’s Black Friday midnight opening, JCPenney’s entranceways were closed off, causing crowding and confusion among shoppers trying to get through the mall.

Last week was a time to be thankful — that everything was 50 percent off in stores, that is.

Black Friday is quickly becoming a major part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Nationwide, hundreds of people camp out for days to get a head start on great deals on electronics, clothes and other items as Christmas presents.

Many stores, such as Walmart and Target, opened before the hour hand struck the top of the clock. Shopping centers, including Fashion Fair Mall on Shaw Avenue, opened their doors at midnight to the flood of anxious shoppers.

I would know. I was fourth in line to get at some of the juicy deals waiting for me — and everybody else — behind the doors.

I waited for more than five and a half hours to get into the mall and regretted every last minute of it.

There’s no explaining why I wanted to be there. I didn’t know what I wanted to buy and I had never previously attempted Black Friday, but I wanted to try it.

Most big-name websites are known for participating in what is known as Cyber Monday. Deals that compete with retail stores are available the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Amazon, the largest online retailer, has its own holiday sales stretching from Nov. 19 through Saturday. The savings come in the form of “Lightning Deals,” a first-come, first-served process to snatch up items staggered throughout the day.

I didn’t find anything worth my time in these Lightning Deals, save a camera that I was too slow to grab. But, hey, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Even before Black Friday, I felt that online deals at other websites were better than anything I found on Amazon or was worth waiting hours for. I spent hundreds of dollars this Thanksgiving. Most of it wasn’t even  Black Friday deals.

I only purchased clothes after waiting multiple hours in line and, after running as quick as I could to the first store of the night, I had to wait in another line just to get in.

I thought to myself, “Why would I subject myself to the torture of standing for hours on end to save a few bucks?”

While I did find some pants actually long enough for my uncommonly long legs, the night was a bust.

Some stores weren’t open, which caused a major traffic jam. On Shaw Avenue, it was bumper-to-bumper the full length of the mall. It was jam-packed and not worth the effort. As I was leaving after only one hour of shopping glory, an ambulance came rushing through the parking lot.

At the mall, I spent $80 and saved the same amount, but I was expecting much more from more than five hours in the cold, foggy darkness.

Maybe I was expecting too much from the night. I have always heard about the great savings, but I just didn’t see the point.

From now on, I’ll stick to online shopping, even if it means being mad that my package won’t show for five to seven business days. The deals are so much better and I can hit all the stores I want in a short span thanks to the magic of browser tabs.

Never again will I deal with the mosh pit of estrogen that is the entrance of Victoria’s Secret on a cold Thanksgiving night.

  • William S.

    Enjoyed the article. Online shopping is the way to go. Black Friday brings out the worst in companies that promote a one day feeding frenzy… and brings out the worst in shoppers who will do anything to participate. It’s the best day of the year to stay home.