Harrisites Reflect On Their Black Friday Experiences During The Pandemic

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Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is an annual tradition in the United States where people dash into stores to take advantage of promoted sales and exclusive discounted prices. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to go into a period of self-isolation, retail industries were hit hard and suffered numerous losses. People became more cautious of shopping in-person due to health and safety concerns. To recover from the damage, businesses have adapted to the demands of a post-quarantine world and reevaluated their marketing strategies to offer a wider range of sales options for consumers in both in-person stores and online sites. A survey was conducted using THHS students who went shopping, either in-person or virtually, as subjects, and asked them to share their shopping experiences.

Sophomore Olivia Wong, who went in-person shopping, visited many stores including Pacsun, Urban Outfitters, and Sephora. “[I got] a hoodie that was discounted to $19,” she said. When asked about the amount of present Black Friday shoppers, Olivia said, “I had to wait outside of some stores for 30 minutes in order to get in!”

Junior Josephine Chan also went shopping in-person on Black Friday. She agreed with Olivia, saying that “there were a lot of people during Black Friday shopping.” Josephine also purchased discounted items as she noted that “there was [a] 30% [discount] on some clothes.”

Others, like senior Ammini David, went online shopping this Black Friday. Ammini commented about the immense technical difficulties that she faced while trying to shop online. “Opening Victoria Secret caused my laptop to crash. The Hollister site was glitching as well and there’d be blank pictures instead of items.” Despite these inconveniences, Ammini stated, “But it beats getting lost in a crowd.” 

A few other students alongside Ammini shared the same opinion about online shopping. Junior Anjelene Laucas shared her poor in-person shopping experience, “When I went shopping on the Black Friday weekend, I could only describe it as being a bit hectic. Many of the stores were crowded and a bit unorganized due to the many customers causing a lot of movement within the stores,” she said. “I only ended up buying things online since it was easier for me to go through the different options and see the sales.” Regarding her online purchases, she added that “more things were in stock when shopping online, so it was easier for me to buy items.”

Like Angelene, freshman Renchen Lama also ended up shopping online after experiencing a dismal in-person shopping trip. She stated, “I did more shopping online since it’s a lot easier than in person shopping.” Although she had a rough time shopping in-person, Renchen reflected on the positive side of her experience: “I went to Soho so it was very crowded, but that was a part of the fun experience.” Olivia also recounts not being too upset with the crowds as she stated, “Despite the huge lines and wait time, I had a lot of fun, as I hadn’t been shopping in person in a while!”

Overall, many THHS students participated in Black Friday shopping, finding remarkable discounted deals both in-person and online. The overall consensus among these students seems to be that in-person shopping causes a lot of unnecessary stress that could have easily been avoided through online shopping. Despite its shortcomings and the fact that this Black Friday was the first after quarantine, the high participation rates of THHS students truly shows that one can still have a great experience with in-person shopping with others or shopping online.

Art by Sophia Park