Students, families shop online for Black Friday deals to stay safe

A+shopper+walks+along+Chicago%E2%80%99s+North+Michigan+Avenue+past+a+sign+for+a+Black+Friday+sale.

Krishita Dutta

A shopper walks along Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue past a sign for a Black Friday sale.

Téa Tamburo, Content Manager

In past years, Black Friday sales drew shoppers to local malls and shopping districts, with stores promising discounts and longer operating hours. The appeal of reduced prices and getting in the holiday spirit resulted in throngs of shoppers taking to the shops and leaving with bulging bags filled with the trendiest merchandise. 

Black Friday is the biggest national shopping and spending holiday of the year and kicks off the holiday gifting season. However with increasing COVID-19 cases and the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, students and families are avoiding crowded stores and instead shopping online, if at all, for a safer way to kick off the holiday season. 

“It’s always fun to go to places, like Best Buy, and everyone is rushing to grab stuff,” Todd Hao, a junior, said. 

Todd’s family has bought electronics at Best Buy in past years, but as a safety precaution, they will not be doing so this year. 

Sophomore Anokha Nathan usually travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to visit family and go Black Friday shopping with her aunt. As a COVID-19 precaution, her family decided to not travel or shop in person this holiday week. 

“Normally we go to the mall and just look at things, but this year I don’t think I’m going to do much,” Anokha said. “I think it’s a little unsafe to go to Water Tower, which would have been really fun, so maybe a little bit of online shopping and using some gift cards.”

To replicate the fun she would’ve had in Michigan, she plans to shop on Amazon for stationery and bullet journal materials, along with finding new LED lights for her bedroom. 

While Anokha is excited for online shopping, some students, such as senior Ramsey Radwan, don’t think they need to purchase anything, in person or online. 

If we need something we’ll buy it, but we don’t go out to shop just to shop.”

— Ramsey Radwan

“No one in my family is a big shopper. We don’t wait till Black Friday to buy stuff necessarily,” Ramsey said. “If we need something we’ll buy it, but we don’t go out to shop just to shop.” 

Senior David Tapper echoed a similar sentiment, saying that increasing COVID-19 cases makes shopping in person seem unsafe. 

“I’m definitely not planning on going anywhere, especially with Covid. I think it’s not really super safe,” David said. “I’m a guitar player, so I’m looking at some websites that are offering some deals on guitar pedals.” 

Some students typically avoid large crowds and shopping centers for this day, but online Black Friday shopping is a first for Anokha, which she said feels like breaking a family tradition. 

“I was really upset about not going to Ann Arbor. It’s a little bit more upsetting this year because there was a chance that we could’ve gone, since we kind of last-minute canceled it,” she said. 

Not shopping with family is disappointing for Anokha, but she chooses to see it from a positive side.  

“We are breaking tradition, which is pretty sad. A lot of people aren’t celebrating the way they used to, but the good news is with these kinds of changes come new traditions,” Anokha said. “So I’m going to take it with a little bit of positivity.”