I've always been curious about the Black Friday hype, but I've never actually been curious enough to go check it out.
I like my sleep, thank you very much.
But this year, I decided I'd venture out to Westfield Hawthorn Mall for the midnight opening, largely for journalistic purposes (to get photos of the huge crowds)—but also to satisfy that curiosity.
That's not where my Black Friday experience began, though, as I decided to tag along with my brother and his partner to two big box stores in Gurnee. I'll just say it's something I'd rather not experience again.
The stores were both very organized, with queue lines to keep the crowds in check. But if you value your personal space like I do, you'd probably happily do without being elbowed by other shoppers or being hit with random carts. There were, however, great deals to be found. My brother picked up a stack of movies on Blu-ray that were a mere fraction of their original price.
On to Hawthorn Mall. When I initially passed by the mall around 10 p.m., lines were already forming outside of some of the anchor stores and mall entrances. I went back at about 11:45 p.m., and there was a sizable line outside of the mall entrance I selected. Marketing Manager Jeff Rutzen met me at the door so I could get in before the crowds.
When the doors opened, people rushed by me in a shopping frenzy. There were drawings to sign up for, sales to find and, in my case at least, cups of coffee to consume.
Rutzen said this was the second time the mall opened at midnight for Black Friday. Last year's event drew large crowds to the 30 stores that chose to be open, despite the fact that it wasn't advertised as much as this year's event.
Most of the mall's stores were open for this year's Black Friday midnight opening.
"For a lot of people, it's just become an event," said Rutzen. "Shoppers want that great deal."
A DJ spun upbeat tunes, creating a festive atmosphere. Made me want to stop and take a dance break. The shoppers all seemed to be having a great time. I'll definitely be back again next year!
Did you go out shopping for Black Friday? What great deals did you find? Tell me in the comments!
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