DeSoto County family keeps 25 year Black Friday shopping tradition despite COVID-19 Concerns

Black Friday shoppers greeted with shorter lines in 2020

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Most major retail stores chose to remain closed for Thanksgiving this year, taking away some of the excitement surrounding the mad dash for deals.

However, when the doors did open, the crowds were noticeably different.

Black Friday tradition undergoes changes due to COVID-19

Before the sun came up on Friday morning, eager shoppers made their way to Tanger Outlets in Southaven.

“This is traditional for my daughter and my two granddaughters who have run off somewhere. We do this every year,” Shirley Adams, who drove to Southaven from Dyersburg, said.

But she and several other shoppers found much shorter lines outside stores.

According to the website “RetailMeNot”, fewer Americans will be shopping over Black Friday weekend. It’s 68 percent this year versus 78 percent last year.

However for the Barclay family, they wouldn’t dare miss Black Friday shopping.

“A lot of guys stereotypically go deer hunting. We go deal hunting. This is the start to deal hunting season,” Barclay said.

The Barclays shop for sport and Black Friday is kind of like their Super Bowl. Just like any sport, they have a uniform which consists of matching shirts, comfortable shoes, pants with pockets, and always a Santa hat.

“There’s a reason we always do the Santa hats so we can see each other when there are crowds, you look for the Santa Hat,” Barclay said.

Black Friday shopping is a 25-year tradition for their family, but 2020 brought on a new challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to re-think heading into crowded stores. According to a Deloitte study, 41 percent of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers said they would shop in stores, which is a sharp decrease of 61 percent in 2019.

However for the Barclays, they kept their Black Friday shopping tradition going this year with a few tweaks.

“The first thing we did was ordered more online than we normally do. We do a combination of online and in-store,” Barclay said.

They also added masks to their “uniform” and kept a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby. Sue Barclay said she felt comfortable shopping in-person with many stores adding safety protocols.

Barclay said, “A manager at Shoe Carnival was showing a little kid how to put his mask on correctly making sure it was up over his nose.”

By mid-afternoon at Oak Court Mall in Memphis, there was a steady flow of shoppers.

“Oh traffic has been fabulous. Some of our winners are Bath and Body Works, Finish Line, Foot Locker, and Champs,” Oak Court Mall general property manager Carmen King said.

Oak Court Mall officials are keeping in mind shoppers are concerned about crowded stores, so they added “Retail to Go”.

Shoppers can order their goods online, and have them delivered to their car in the parking lot.

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