Black Friday in the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Can We Expect?

By Meredith Backman ’22


Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving that hundreds of thousands of people across the country ritually spend lining up outside of Best Buy right after the dishes are done from dinner, running into Bath & Body Works and swiping an entire shelf of candles, or going to the mall just to witness capitalism at its finest. 

Because we are still amid the Coronavirus pandemic, there is still major uncertainty and concern about large crowds and the safety of shopping centers. With metering implemented in stores and the urgency to practice social distancing when in public, Black Friday shopping will look completely different from what we have seen historically. The introduction of Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday, over recent years has proved to be where a good percentage of people do more convenient holiday shopping if they want to skip the lines and seek out different/better deals from home.

 We will see the idea of “Cyber Monday” take over the holiday shopping season this year, as the mania from in-person shopping will be transferred online, as we have already seen the craze and impact of Amazon’s Prime Day earlier this month. 

What Can We Expect of Black Friday Amid the Pandemic? 

  • Walmart has announced that it will begin pushing out 3 incremented deal days starting November 4th and ending on the 27th.
  • Best Buy has already started rolling out Black Friday deals, notably on TV’s, headphones, and speakers. 
  • Target has announced that it will implement new technology to protect its customers that will allow them to skip waiting in line, as well as “offering contactless self-checkout, over 8,000 additional parking spots for contactless drive-up services and contactless same-day fulfillment options.” (https://www.yahoo.com/gma/black-friday-2020-know-shopping-164511359.html)
  • Retailers, such as Madewell, are rolling out Black Friday “Preview Sales”, that have started this month and end after a few days. Retailers are offering a few short-lived sales throughout the month, some that you need to become a loyalty member to access, in order to spread out shipping demands for holiday shopping, ensuring that they sell products and can ship to customers in a timely manner. 

In Conclusion: Deals are starting now and will be popping up throughout the next month. There are many options to make an in-person shopping experience as smooth and stressless as possible, as well as additional deals through their apps or becoming a loyalty member. 

My Advice: start compiling lists of products you were planning on buying for Black Friday and start to check websites for those products. Also, check multiple websites for the same product. You might go on Best Buy and find that AirPods are on sale for $129, but Walmart has the same headphones for $99. If there are current deals offered that are better than ones previously given and you don’t want to risk waiting until close to Black Friday for a possibly better deal, you should pull the trigger before the item possibly sells out. If anything, you can purchase the item again if there is a better sale around Black Friday and return the item you purchased first. Because retailers want you to purchase as much as possible and are aware of the strains of the pandemic, many companies are extending return policies, some even into 2021, so that customers have longer to decide to return products and removes some of the manic, “final deal, final sale” pressures. 

This Black Friday is looking more like Black Season, as deals are currently being promoted left and right, even having started this month and likely into December. To take advantage of the best sales and get your purchases on time, checking out deals sooner rather than later might be a smart route to explore. I wouldn’t count out going to an in-person store on actual Black Friday though, as nothing brings more holiday cheer than witnessing two full-grown adults fighting over a Nintendo Switch at 7 in the morning. 

*Valley Girl does not own the photo used in this article.

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