Black Friday looks different this year: the biggest shopping day of the year expands to a month-long event, stores take precautions to keep shoppers safe, and infamous Black Friday crowds are a thing of the past

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The Gazette

Infamous Black Friday crowds are a thing of the past as stores take precautions to keep shoppers safe

  From waking up early to get those shocking doorbusters, to the thrill of finding the perfect item at the perfect price, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, but it will look very different this year. 

  Is Black Friday cancelled? What stores are closing? Are the deals being offered online? What does the biggest day of shopping, filled with avid crowds and long lines look like in a pandemic? 

  Most years, Black Friday shoppers have waited outside stores for hours before opening, just to take advantage of the doorbusters offered. The stores take on obscene new hours to give shoppers ample time, and when the doors to these stores finally open, shoppers enter in large crowds, like a stampede. 

  Stores are taking precautions to avoid these crowds and stampedes this year to ensure safe shopping. Instead of packing all the Black Friday deals into one day, many stores are spreading sales out over weeks, and even months. 

  A number of stores are planning to release their sales early, on Monday, November 23, and continue them through Cyber Monday, November 30. These sales will most likely be available online, as well as as in store. 

  Target has already begun their Black Friday holiday deals; starting their sales early, in late October, the franchise has spread out their deals, making this year’s Black Friday a month-long event. 

  In the past, many stores have pushed aside the pumpkin pie and have opened on Thanksgiving evening to amplify their Black Friday sales. This year, many of these stores have already announced that they will be completely closed on Thanksgiving. These stores include, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy, and Bed Bath & Beyond. 

  Another way stores are shifting the focus away from Black Friday is by putting their deals online. Cyber Monday is the lesser known shopping day, like Black Friday’s little brother. 

  While Black Friday is known for its intense crowds and doorbuster stampedes, Cyber Monday gives shoppers the opportunity to shop markdowns from the comfort of their own homes.  

  In a world dominated by technology, it makes sense for shopping to go online too. Many stores have opted to run all of their sales online, as well as in store, to minimize the number of in-person shoppers.

  With the combination of online-shopping and many stores providing Black Friday-esque sales all month, stores are aiming to avoid spreading COVID. 

  Stretching out sales over the course of weeks, rather than jampacking them all into one day, will minimize the amount of in-person shoppers on Black Friday. Those infamous crowds and stampedes look like a thing of the past; instead, many shoppers will find it more reasonable to shop from the comfort of their homes in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. 

  This year in particular, Black Friday is essential for many businesses– after taking hits from the quarantine period, many stores and franchises are in need of business, now more than ever. Every year, storefronts look forward to Black Friday to skyrocket their usual numbers; this year, Black Friday is essential for these storefronts to hopefully make up a fraction of the losses they felt during the quarantine period. Black Friday, this year, is the light at the end of the tunnel for so many franchises that are desperately trying to stay afloat. 

  While it is disappointing that the rush and thrill of Black Friday shopping will not exist as much this year, shoppers need to keep in mind the safety of themselves and others. That being said, shoppers who do plan to go out on Black Friday to shop in person must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines– wear a mask, socially-distance, and be mindful of others.