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Boreal Community Media

Video: Less crowds and more curbside pick-up for this year's Black Friday shopping

Nov 28, 2020 05:36AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Alejandra Palacios of WDIO-TV - November 27, 2020 

Black Friday shopping was a different experience as stores adapted to the current COVID-19 situation and offered more variety with shopping and enforced health protocols to keep everyone distanced and safe.

The rush of Black Friday is something retailers and customers prep for every year but this time, there were no visible long lines outside of stores or crowds. It was a steady flow of people walking in and out of stores or opting for other shopping options. 

A group of friends from Ashland noted the new measures at stores as they did some holiday shopping at Miller Hill Mall.

"At the mall every time between customers they say hold on and they sanitize and then have you come up. That's huge to see," said Donna Sechen from Ashland.

Sechan was joined by her friends, Amanda, Marie and Patty Eaton. They have made it a special tradition these past four years to drive to Duluth from Ashland to get their Black Friday shopping done together.

"We look forward to it every year. We start shopping usually after Thanksgiving and then we shop until about three or four in the morning and then we head home," said Eaton. "This year, we got up at 3:30 in the morning and didn't know what it was going to be like."

"I did online shopping and came here and picked up some things," said Amar Gawt, who stopped by Best Buy.

The fact that there wasn't the usual Black Friday chaos was surprising to store employees.

"I heard there was two people in line a little after 5 a.m. and then I think we only had a total of nine in line. Usually we are seeing a couple hundred people in line waiting to get into the door and welcome them in. It kinda feels like a regular Saturday to us," said Jessica Radtke, the Target human resources executive team leader.

This year popular Black Friday shopping spots like Target and Best Buy avoided having crowds by offering contactless curbside and in store pick-up.

"We can just see the code on their phone and with cars these days I can just pop their hatch open and we can put their stuff in and say thanks, have a good day and they go on their merry way. It's so awesome to keep our guests and our team safe," said Radtke.

"Online is a great thing I think because less people are coming to the store," said Gawt.

"Even the online ordering coming in quick to grab your bag has been a really hot use of how people are going shopping this year," said Radtke.

There's also new in-store health and cleaning measures for employees and customers.

"You enter one way and exit the other. There's hand sanitizers throughout the store, little stands everywhere. The workers are spraying the carts," said Sechen.

"There's plexiglass around all the check lanes so that they're in a safe environment. We clean every lane between each transaction. We have the social distancing and we got the stickers on the floor," said Radtke.

With the uncertainty of how things were going to look this year for Black Friday, customers said they were happy to experience the excitement that comes with getting good deals and were especially surprised at how fast they were able to get their shopping done this year.

"We still got everything on our list, I did anyway because there wasn't that big giant group of numbers of people," said Sechen.

"The most important thing is we got to do this again!" said Eaton.

To watch the original report and see related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.