Shoppers welcome reduced Black Friday crowds, stretched sales

With no long lines or races to get to certain shelves, Black Friday certainly feels different amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At Meijer in Grafton, the parking lot on Friday was not nearly as full as it would be on a normal Black Friday -- and shoppers said they're OK with that.

Strolling through the aisles, there were no traffic jams on this Black Friday, Nov. 27. It was a welcome change for shoppers, like Jason Harry.

"You know, you experience Black Fridays in the past, and it was pretty crazy. Today, it kinda seems a little better. It's not as crowded. You don't have to bump elbows with everybody," Harry said.

Shoppers at Meijer in Grafton on Nov. 27, 2020.

While the pandemic plays into that, some shoppers chose to stay home -- and shop online instead. Meijer store director Steve Talbert said Meijer planned ahead, too.

"We've had the product selection you'd normally have -- it condensed into two days -- it's now been available all week. So, there's been enough product to get through," said Talbert.

Shoppers at Meijer in Grafton on Nov. 27, 2020.

While the in-store traffic was stretched across the week, Meijer still saw strong sales across the board -- especially on electronics, like televisions and video gaming systems.

The stretched-out sales gave consumers a more relaxed experience to kick off the holiday shopping season.

"There is half as many people, maybe a quarter as many people. Everyone's been very polite, very...just kind of in the Christmas mood and kinda keeping everything happy," shopper Mary Hamm said.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

While a lot of shoppers who spoke to FOX on Friday said they are OK with the stores being much less crowded than usual, they wouldn't mind a return to that because it could be a sign that the pandemic is nearing its end.

Of course, the shopping window is far from over. Saturday, Nov. 28 marks Small Business Saturday -- leading into another online spending boom for Cyber Monday.


Retailers take steps to 'avoid a crowd' on Black Friday amid COVID-19

Typically, you'll see Black Friday shoppers camped out for a good deal at Best Buy on Thanksgiving Day, but in 2020, FOX6 News found an empty parking lot.