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The dark side of Black Friday - Kitsap residents fleeing both to and from stores.
Jason Mcleod of Silverdale will be staying as far from the mall as possible Friday. He’s not against shopping, just shopping on this particular day — Black Friday.
“I don’t shop on Black Friday because we’re told to shop on Black Friday,” Mcleod, 38, said. “I’ll shop when I feel like it. I will not stand in lines when the same sales will be there the day after.”
Kitsap retailers expect large crowds of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving, known for bargain prices on the year’s popular presents and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. But some are deciding to opt out, forgoing the hype and the crowds.
And some are organizing against it.
Although some are deciding against joining the rush, it appears most are eager to start their shopping.
Kitsap Mall typically sees a 75 to 80 percent increase in the number of shoppers on Black Friday, said Rene Morris, senior property manager of the mall. And many stores will open their doors as early as 4 a.m. for those who can’t wait for the sun to rise to hit the mall.
For Christie Fox-Lytle of Poulsbo, a five-year veteran of Black Friday shopping, Black Friday is like eating turkey on Thanksgiving.
“It’s tradition to go,” the 16-year-old said.
Fox-Lytle started shopping with her family on Black Friday but now goes with her friends.
And shopping is serious business for this teenager.
“If someone’s about to get what I want, I push.” Fox-Lytle said. “I get vicious.”
Having worked at the mall on Black Friday last year, Anthony Jeffries, of Bremerton, knows all too well the experience of pushy customers.
“Customers are ruder that day than any other day,” said Jeffries, 18. “And if people have a bad day on Black Friday, it’s like the world’s going to end.”
Jeffries described a chaotic scene of people constantly grabbing. He worked at a clothing store and had to refold items that seconds later would be unfolded by frantic shoppers.
Colleen Rich, a sales associate at Forever 21 said the store will have 30 employees working throughout Friday because of the anticipated increase in the number of shoppers. Any other Friday, there are 15 employees working. Rich is scheduled to work all day Friday and said the store aims to triple profits made on a normal weekend day.
“It’ll be crazy,” she said.
But despite the sales and special promotions that prompt people into stores when they normally would be asleep, there’s also a worldwide campaign to not shop Friday. Known as Buy Nothing Day, a protest against consumerism has gained steam over the past years.
The intent of organizers isn’t to dampen the holiday spirit, but to make people aware of how an emphasis on consumption affects the environment and detracts from the meaning of the season.
Although Mcleod had never heard of Buy Nothing Day, in his own way has been observing it all along: “I’ve never been shopping on Black Friday. I refuse.”