Black Friday shoppers say 'no way' to the hassles

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 25, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
SALISBURY — Today’s headlines about violence at Black Friday sales from coast to coast are proof of why many shoppers are saying “no, thanks” to doorbuster deals and late-night sales.
For all those who crowded malls and shopping centers before dawn waiting for advertised bargains, many more seemed content to stay far, far away.
Courtney Alexander said she worked Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at a shoe store in Concord Mills. She asked that the Post not name her employer.
Alexander said she thinks fear — of not finding the right gift, or that there won’t be enough — drives crowds to malls on Black Friday.
“I heard horror stories,” she said, “fights, quarrels over parking.”
She even said one customer threw a shoebox at her when the line didn’t move quickly enough.
Even if she didn’t have to work, Alexander said, she wouldn’t shop at malls on Black Friday.
“I do mine a little bit at a time,” she said.
Many times, Alexander said, she’ll make her own gifts.
From big box stores to downtown boutiques, local residents by and large said they were trying to avoid the crowds and rein in their spending.
For Bryan Smith and wife Donnie, Black Friday is a marketing ploy, plain and simple.
Bryan said he’s been unemployed for two years.
“I was a general contractor,” he said. “Need I say more?”
He said that not only had he avoided Black Friday, but he plans to avoid gift-giving this season.
“I will not shop this season,” he said.
“Christmas isn’t about gifts,” Donnie said. “It’s about family and friends.
She said she thinks people are too gullible when it comes to so-called Black Friday deals.
“It’s a marketing thing, that’s all it is,” Donnie said.
She said that, all in all, the deals aren’t better on Black Friday than they are at other times.
Julie Kennedy agreed. She and her husband Tim said they don’t shop as much now that their children are older.
“For us, the sales weren’t enough to put up with the crowds,” she said.
“And I guess we didn’t have any particular thing we were looking for this year.”
Many of those who shopped in Salisbury said they did so to avoid crowds.
As Friday afternoon turned to evening, crowds began to gather in anticipation of the Holiday Night Out.
Ruth Dolan and her husband Tom brought their grandsons, Robbie and Alexander Lindsay of Concord, downtown to look at possible gifts.
She said they refused to take the boys to a mall because of the mobs expected to be there.
“I love the holidays, the joy of it,” Ruth said. “I won’t let the economy get in the way.”
That’s a lesson 12-year-old Patrick Lewallen learned Friday morning.
He finished his day of shopping back in Salisbury, but he, too, was at Concord Mills on Friday morning.
Lewallen said he asked his cousin to take him to the Polo Ralph Lauren outlet store there.
“It was pretty packed,” he said. “There was a lot of people everywhere.”
In the end, the gotta-have-it item he found was a pair of shorts – original priced around $60, marked down to $50.
What did he learn from his ordeal?
“You don’t need stuff that much,” Lewallen said. “Sometimes it’s just not worth it.”
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.