By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

Black Friday is supposedly the one day out of the year where items go on sale in several stores around the United States. Whether items are discounted for 10 percent or even up to 50 percent, people will line up outside of these stores the night before just to get in first to get the best deals before they run out.

The typical stereotypes that people will hear nowadays is that Black Friday shopping is for “the crazies who want good deals”, “shoppers will be ready to fight”, and “people will most likely get trampled over”.

I felt that I was most likely going to experience almost all of these stereotypes after seeing quite a few years of horrendous videos of Black Friday shoppers all over the internet. Then again, it was difficult for me to really determine how this particular Black Friday shopping experience would go about for me since I had done it before twice.

During the times that I had gone Black Friday shopping before were with my aunty on the day of actual Black Friday sales rather than on Thanksgiving day. However, the places that we had done our shopping at was Costco, which was nothing compared to how places like Wal-Mart and Ala Moana could be. From what I could remember, shopping at Costco was just congested and held ridiculously long lines for checkout.

So was this past Black Friday something worth looking forward to? From what I had experienced that day, I don’t think I would do it ever again. This Black Friday was rather a disappointment.

After four years of being allowed to venture out of the house, I told myself that I needed to experience this day at the craziest and busiest places, that is of course with the help of someone by my side. My boyfriend had tagged along with me as we made our first stop at Wal-Mart. I was really nervous for there were several people making their way into the store with their shopping carts and game faces on.

I knew that being anxious had to do with the several thoughts that were racing through my mind: “What if I get trampled on?”, “What if someone fights me for an item that I want to buy?”, “What if I buy too much and go into debt?”. All of these questions were slowly beginning to disappear as I saw what Black Friday shopping really was about.

The fact that the store was very crowded was something that I already expected and was prepared for, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. As we entered Wal-Mart and walked past the shopping carts, there was an entire aisle filled with flat screens on sale. The bigger and higher in price the TV was, the more there were in stock. I was surprised to see that there were only a few people standing around them as we walked past; in fact they stood there and genuinely looked like they were attempting to lay out the reasons why they should or shouldn’t purchase one.

As we made our way deeper into the store, I was slowly beginning to get irritated. Normally I don’t always enjoy crowds for two reasons: people walk too slow and also because people don’t seem to know how to place their shopping carts on the side to keep the walkway clear. This was the worst where I experienced both of the things that trigger my irritation the most. After covering about half the store, I had in the end only purchased one item that wasn’t even on sale or for myself. The checkout lines were pretty long, but bearable since I had only waited for about 5 minutes in the express lane.

After leaving Wal-Mart, we then decided to check out Ala Moana for hopefully better deals. The first store that I stumbled upon was Nature Republic. I dragged my boyfriend in, telling him that I needed to look for a Christmas gift for my long time elementary school friend. The store was crowded and had some fair sales, but again, I only purchased two facial cleansing masks that weren’t on sale and again, not for me.

From there we began to make our way upstairs toward the Microsoft store since my boyfriend needed to pick up his laptop. We passed by Bath and Body Works which was entirely packed; the line to check out had extended to the entrance of the store. I was in awe having seen such a long line, but I knew that this was nothing new for them since they had a buy three get three free deal.

Everywhere that I looked there was nothing but people and the loads of shopping bags. The fears of being trampled or getting into a fight had totally disappeared; Black Friday shopping in Hawai‘i is nothing compared to the mainland.

From this experience, I was able to see how it challenged the popular stereotypes that we all hear and see about Black Friday shopping. I feel that some people who have never experienced it before get these irrational fears and ideas from what they see and hear in the media. There might have been a few crazy people who wanted a good deal, but ultimately not once did I see shoppers fighting with one another and trampling over others.

I also didn’t have to witness anyone running around throughout the stores just to get the best microwave on sale. Beyond the crowds and long lines, this Black Friday was rather civilized. Unlike the mainland, everyone stayed calm and didn’t fight with others to get a good deal. 

In regards to the sales that I had seen, there was nothing very exciting. Before going out to shop, I had viewed several Black Friday advertisements, determined to find a Canon camera for a low price. It was between Wal-Mart and Best Buy where I had found a Canon EOS Rebel T6 on sale for $449.99, which was perfect for me. Being that Wal-Mart was the closest from where I live, it was the reason why I had gone to the one on Keeaumoku, hoping to find the camera of my dreams.

I was pretty disappointed. It makes sense for people to go the day before the deals start so that they can get them first. If I didn’t have any plans, I would have gone on Thanksgiving to see if I could have gotten my camera then, versus missing out on it on the actually day of Black Friday.

What had also led to my disappointment was how I didn’t get anything out of it for my benefit. I had gone expecting to get good deals on items that I was hoping I could use for myself, but rather had gotten items that weren’t on sale and not for me.

Unless you have a list of items that you intend to buy and are interested in looking for, Black Friday isn’t much of something to get very excited about. Unless you shop wisely, people will often go into debt due to purchasing several items that they may not even need, but had bought anyway because of its decency in sales.

I can’t say that I entirely didn’t enjoy myself; it was a great eye-opening shopping experience. The chances of me ever going again are quite slim, but then again, there’s always Cyber Monday to look forward to.