Black Friday shopping experience has changed over the years

Many frequent Black Friday shoppers may have noticed how the retail holiday season has changed over the years. It's gone from an early morning frenzy to an all-day calm. 

Stephanie Newton and her family remember the classic Black Friday experience.

"I remember going at like four in the morning, sitting in the car, watching a movie on my laptop until the doors open," Newton said.

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In just a few years, it has gone from that craziness to a relatively peaceful shopping experience – mainly due to increased online shopping and prolonged sales. 

"It seems a little more calm and a little less chaotic. People aren’t camping outside of stores and everyone seems to be shopping local," said William Kurzendoerfer, a Black Friday shopper.

Shoppers at Bayshore on Black Friday 2022

Retailers like it too – especially hot Black Friday destinations like Bayshore

"We’re able to plan better, we’re able to execute better, and we’re able to offer more to the shoppers to have that experience," said Mary Mokwa, general manager of Bayshore. "It's a lot better experience for employees and the mall staff from security to the cleaning – all the way around."

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Over at Meijer in Wauwatosa, workers saw some early risers. 

"We had about a dozen people outside ready to come in and take advantage of the TV sales we had going on," said Stacy Maynard, Wauwatosa Meijer store director.

Even so, it was a nice steady flow rather than the morning frenzy it had once been.

Shoppers at Bayshore on Black Friday 2022

"It’s more spread out, so you don’t have that controlled chaos, is what we used to call it. Now it is more of an all-week-long event, and now today it's more smooth and controlled," Maynard said. "We love this format."

Some Black Friday deals are going on through the weekend and into Cyber Monday. Retailers remind you that deals run in stores and online. 

"It's great for me to see that we’re able to take care of a lot more people and make their Christmas that much more special this year," Maynard said.