Black Thursday

UB students respond to Black Friday stretching its hours


James Tang sees Black Friday shopping after Thanksgiving dinner as a “night of adventure.”

Black Friday is creeping closer to Thanksgiving dinner, as many stores opened on Thursday evening this year. Many UB students participated in shopping for the sales on that Thursday and Friday, but some don’t agree with stores opening as early as Thanksgiving Day.

Tang, a sophomore accounting major, sees the day as a time to be with his family and friends and the actual act of “frenzy” shopping does not appeal to him.

“People become so consumed with buying stuff with low prices that they forget they just got out of Thanksgiving,” Tang said.

Every year, Tang goes Black Friday shopping the day after, but this year he chose to stay in until Friday afternoon. He said other customers weren’t “shoving and diving for things” when he was shopping.

Large-scale stores like Walmart, Macy’s and Target opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Best Buy opened at 5 p.m.

The Walden Galleria told its store managers to open their stores when the shopping center opened on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. or they would be fined for each hour they remained closed. Fines varied from store to store and started at $200 per hour.

“It’s a family day, it’s a holiday and frankly it’s really getting out of hand with how stores are opening so early,” Brian McKnight, manager of the Walden Galleria’s Art of Shaving boutique told The Huffington Post. “It’s about having that comfortable work-life balance and respecting my employees’ holiday time with their families.”

McKnight’s boutique accepted their $250-an-hour fine, which accumulated to $2,750, and said the store would remain closed until 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

David Xiong, a senior civil engineering major, has shopped on Black Friday at the Walden Galleria for the past two years. This year, Xiong and his friends headed to the mall around 7:30 p.m. right after Thanksgiving dinner.

Xiong began Black Friday shopping last year because he decided to stay in Buffalo for the break instead of going back home to New York City. He said if he were back at home with his family, he wouldn’t have used this time to go shopping.

“I think it’s been crossing the line a bit to have it start on Thanksgiving because some mothers are waiting in line to get in a store instead of having Thanksgiving dinner with their families,” Xiong said.

Andrew Kim, a senior business major, said although he finds it worth it to go Black Friday shopping every year, he saves Thanksgiving Day to spend with friends or family because it’s “not worth missing to go shopping.”

He said he understands why many stores are opening on Thanksgiving.

“I think that makes things a bit easier and safer,” Kim said. “It won’t be as crowded at one time.”

Instead, he wakes up to go shopping on Black Friday as early as 3 a.m.

Kim said he wakes up early to shop because the deals only come once a year and he and his friends are “all broke college students.”

Shelly Manyevitch, a junior biological sciences major, worked at Charlotte Russe on Black Friday and said the environment was “pretty OK.”

“[It was] really busy and the line wrapped around the register a couple of times, but nothing too overwhelming,” she said.

Manyevitch said she didn’t work on Thanksgiving and finds Thursday night to be busier.

Megan Walsh, a senior speech and hearing and sociology major, works at Olive Garden and appreciates the crowds of people who visit the restaurant after shopping on Black Friday. But she finds the extension of this holiday “absolutely ridiculous.”

“[The holiday] should be about family and [Black Friday] ruins Thanksgiving, which should be about being appreciative for what you have and family,” she said.

Walsh said Walden Galleria should not have fined their stores for being closed Thursday night.

“It is not fair for people to leave their Thanksgiving dinners to go to work, so other people can shop,” Walsh said.

Like Walsh, Andy Rouse, a senior communication major, doesn’t find Black Friday shopping “worth it.” He said he prefers to do his shopping on Cyber Monday – the online version of Black Friday when retailers have similar sales on their websites.

“You can definitely tell over the past few years that Black Friday’s not as busy as it used to be,” Rouse said. “Cyber Monday’s gonna take over Black Friday very soon, if not this year.”

Rouse, however, does not think it is retailers’ fault for opening earlier.

“If one store opens early, the other ones have to just to stay competitive,” Rouse said. “It’s just a business decision.”