Annual shopping frenzy approaches

Cheryl McEvoy

While many Villanovans are looking forward to Thanksgiving break as a time for relaxation, family and pumpkin pie, some are gearing up for the main event after the turkey is carved. The chaotic commercial phenomenon known as Black Friday is rapidly approaching, and students are either writing their lists or running for cover in anticipation of the sales.

“I love Black Friday,” junior Kristin Digregorio says. “It’s my favorite shopping day of the year. You get a big rush getting up at 4 a.m. and seeing all the crowds waiting for sale-price goods.”

For shopping enthusiasts, Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time for giving and a time for buying. According to, the day earns its name from the increased retail activity immediately following Thanksgiving, which improves profits and moves store earnings from “in the red” to “in the black.”

Customarily, malls open their doors in the early hours of the morning, welcoming eager consumers wishing to take advantage of large discounts and exclusive deals. Black Friday has a notorious reputation as one of the busiest shopping days of the year, as stores are often swamped with customers and the parking lots overflowing with cars.

Veteran shoppers make the mall excursion a holiday in itself, turning their routine into an annual tradition.

“Me and my friends get up at like 3:30 a.m., stop at Dunkin’ Donuts to get coffee and then go to the stores,” Digregorio claims. “You have to stop at Target and Best Buy first because those fill up the fastest with people. Other stores open later and people tend to be more civilized there than at big places like Best Buy.”

Sophomore Annie Gartman has a similar strategy.

“I try to go early because it gets pretty crowded,” she says.

The scene is hectic and fierce, so first-time shoppers are advised to plan ahead for the scramble. As an experienced Black Friday participant, Digregorio recommends making a list to focus the search for specific deals and not getting swept up in the shuffle.

“Don’t get offended if people get angry,” she adds. “It’s early and people get a little crazy about their sales. And be really nice to people who work in the stores, because they probably don’t want to be there.”

Gartman recognizes the advantage of shopping with friends.

“Have someone stand in line while someone else shops,” she recommends.

While some students eagerly await the post-Thanksgiving sales, other Villanovans plan to steer clear of the malls. Instead, their Black Friday will consist of spending time with friends and enjoying a stress-free day.

“I avoid [the stores on Black Friday] like the plague,” senior Sara Horstmann says. “Especially going to the mall, the lines are too long, and there’s too many people. Usually I just hang out with my family and friends because everyone’s home then. We go out to eat or go to the movies.”

Junior Sarah Blanchard shares Horstmann’s sentiments.

“I just like to catch up with friends from high school,” she admits. “I really avoid the mall at all costs.”

Students who do not wish to be caught up in chaos are best off staying away from highways and roads near popular shopping areas, as the increased volume of cars heading to the stores often results in heavy traffic. A local friend’s house usually provides an ideal, shopper-free location.

For those who are adventurous enough to seek out Black Friday deals and discounts, malls offer extended hours to accommodate the heavy crowds. Villanovans staying in the area can take advantage of holiday hours at the King of Prussia Mall, which will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday. KOP’s 400 stores and restaurants offer countless opportunities to join the frenzy. But, as Digregorio warns, watch out for those elbows.