Thanks To COVID-19, Black Friday 2020 Is A Bust In New York City
COVID-19 was assassinated on Black Friday, 2020.
What is usually the biggest shopping day of the year was a real bust around the five boroughs, with the bug seeming to fend off brick-and-mortar stores from the regular crowds.
At Queens Center, the borough’s largest mall in Elmhurst, which was dead early on Friday morning compared to last year’s shoppers’ pre-coronavirus storm, the social distance was no concern.
“I don’t know where they are,” said one shocked employee at JCPenney, where about a dozen customers milled about the jewellery department. “Scared. They are scared of the virus.
“They are online shopping.”
Outside Macy’s, about 30 customers queued up until it opened at 6 a.m. But just a few hours later, the crowd had dissipated. The big-box store ordered doorbusters including $19.99 watches and 40 per cent off all boots and accessories.
“I got here at seven (a.m.), but there was no line,” said Akhter Begum, 23, who for a good reason, preferred in-person retail therapy. “It doesn’t reveal anything online often. The size doesn’t fit often. (items) look different from the photos sometimes.
The absence of customers was due to the plethora of online sales merchandisers pushing for weeks now one employee suggested.
“For three weeks now we’ve had Black Friday sales,” the worker said. “Two weeks ago, we had doorbuster sales. Perhaps that is why more people today are not shopping.
Another employee hoped that sales would pick up later after the turkey coma of shoppers wore off.
“I was expecting a big crowd,” she said. “Maybe later. They are resting from yesterday.”
Speakers blared reminders at Macy’s for clients to wear their masks and told them that heavily trafficked areas were regularly cleaned. Hand sanitizing stations were dotted all over the store as well.
The Montoya family picked up a bargain down the road at Queens Place Mall—$1,000 off a 65-inch Sony TV that initially retailed for $2,700.
They said that although the boob tube saved their sanity during the lockdown, family fights over who gets dibs first are also ignited.
“Before the pandemic, we were always out so, normally, we wouldn’t have needed another TV,” said dad Niko Montoya.
“Now everybody is at home more, we watch more TV. My daughter wants to watch whatever she wants to watch, whenever she wants to watch it. We have to stand and wait our turn.”
Niko enjoys watching sports, while on Netflix, his wife Naoko binges on “Survivor.” And their 17-year-old daughter is trying out YouTube.
“The pandemic was behind our decision,” said Niko of buying a second TV for their household. “We have more time to watch TV and less time to argue.”
In Manhattan, meanwhile, barriers were put up outside the Best Buy near Columbus Circle, but by mid-morning, when Mauricio Solas walked straight in to buy a VR headset, they were not needed.
“I’m pretty surprised,” the 17-year-old student said. “It’s always full every other time, so when you just get to go in and look around, and there is a lot of stock right now, so that’s also pretty cool.”
A small crowd of masked drinkers waited overnight for Goal to open on 34th Street.
New York City’s Black Friday scenes this year paled compared to last year’s. As queues streamed down blocks ahead of the opening of stores, like the now-deserted Columbus Circle Best Buy.