CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - This year’s Black Friday looked very different from years past, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
But smaller crowds were expected, as more than 70% of people say they’re choosing to shop online due to COVID-19 spikes. Locally, some did make the trek for in-person shopping.
NBC12 crews arrived around 4 a.m. at the Kohl’s and Target along Midlothian Turnpike. Many of the customers did not arrive until about 15 minutes before the store opened at 5 a.m.
“Good morning, come on in!” a Kohl’s worker greeted a handful of shoppers, as he unlocked the sliding doors - not the traditional “door-busting” expected of Black Friday.
“Usually, I come to these and it’s just been a line. You know, at least 30 to 40 people,” said shopper, Pam Davis. It was deep discounts that brought her out to the store.
“Today, I’m getting a Fire tablet, hopefully. The shipping was $75, and the little tablet’s only $39,” she said.
Despite the underwhelming opening, Kohl’s did experience a steady flow of shoppers throughout the morning.
Others also chose to shop in-person because of no luck getting certain items online; this season, the hottest item is perhaps the Sony PlayStation 5.
“We brought a couple of chairs, we have a sleeping bag,” said Hamzeh Khattab. He and his friends were four of the five people camped outside Target on Friday morning. The group arrived at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening as they had experienced no luck acquiring a PS5 online.
“They said everything is online, but it’s already out of stock in live five minutes... Just like that, it’s crazy!” Khattab said.
His friend, Zack Mahfouz, explained that they had checked in with other stores on the gaming system’s availability, but were repeatedly directed to try Target.
“All the other stores folded on us, so we had to come to Target. We asked before [the employees] came in, they were like, ‘We probably have some.’”
Unfortunately, the group left empty-handed.
Ivan Jenkins rounds out the five people waiting early Friday morning.
“Even if it was in your cart, by the time you get to put your credit card info in, it refreshes, and it’s out of stock,” he said about his unsuccessful attempts at buying a PS5 for his daughters.
He adds that he was worried about dealing with Black Friday crowds, but cast those fears aside for his kids.
“Nobody wants to get sick. At the end of the day, it’s worth it just to try and see if I can get it. The girls are asleep - hopefully, this is their surprise for Christmas.”
According to WalletHub, some retailers were offering an average discount of at least 52%. Many other big-box stores rolled out their Black Friday Deals weeks ago, to help disperse the usual crowds.
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