Stores in Spokane were busy on Friday, but parking spaces weren’t hard to find and crowds remained mostly manageable on the traditional busiest shopping day of the year.
Those shopping Friday suggested the continuing trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving has made Black Friday a tamer affair.
Black Friday has “a much later start every year because they’re opening on Thanksgiving,” said Jennifer Dykes, whose business, Stone Crazy, operates in a kiosk in the Spokane Valley Mall. “Twelve years ago when I was here, there’d be a line at the door at 6 a.m. to get in here. It would just be a madhouse. Now it pretty much looks like this until 10, 11 because the really hardcore shoppers went out the night before.”
Dykes’ prediction? The next trend will be that day-after-Christmas shopping will begin Christmas night.
She wishes the mall wasn’t open on Thanksgiving. Her business sells crystals, rocks and gems and only operates in the mall in November and December. The mall requires her to staff it whenever the mall is open, including Thanksgiving.
She ate Thanksgiving dinner with her family earlier so she could be there for the mall to open at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“I just had to leave early to come to work,” Dykes said. “I would rather not have to do that because I think that it’s silly to take away from the holiday for a monetary amount.”
Chelsey Nielson, who started her Black Friday shopping at the South Hill Target at 7:30 a.m., said she never shops on Thanksgiving and always goes with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law. Nielson was shopping for her three children, and was pleased to find a 3-in-1 Barbie closet, two Barbie dolls and a Barbie car – all items on her daughter’s list.
“It’s a big box, which is what she’s going to be really excited about,” Nielsen said.
Still, Nielson brought cloth bags for all of her items, and made a point of purchasing wooden toys for her 2-year-old.
“They’re going to be more expensive,” Nielson said. “But they’re going to last longer.”
In River Park Square, a group called Extinction Rebellion hung a banner over the second-floor railing that read “Go Green on Black Friday.”
Extinction Rebellion was started in the United Kingdom, and has chapters all over the world. The Spokane chapter began meeting only a couple of months ago, on Sept. 20 during the student climate strike. Cynthia Manycolors, a member of the group, said the group is trying to make people more aware of the costs of pollution from the items they purchase.
“What we’d like to see is people shopping responsibly, which is hard to do,” Manycolors said. “There’s a lot of different shopping options out there and it’s hard to find out what companies are actually making their products sustainably.”
Manycolors had flyers that gave examples of responsible companies – local, regional and online. In Spokane, the list included REI, Eco Depot, Kizuri, The Main Market and The Grain Shed.
Manycolors acknowledges that buying responsibly can be difficult.
“When I look at something that’s more expensive because it’s made by a local craftsperson I might go, ‘Wow, whoa, $30 instead of $5, that’s hard for my budget,’” Manycolors said. “It’s hard to cut back and do without, but I just have to try to be aware the best that I can.”
Terrain, a nonprofit that promotes local artists, hosted a “Not Black Friday” fundraiser for the gallery that showcased artwork from local artists, all $200 or less.
“I just think it’s a nice thing for people to come out and do something different,” said Jackie Caro, Terrain operations director. “It’s more relaxing, and they get to buy something from a person that lives here and it impacts them directly.”
Terrain will continue the event Saturday, participating in Small Business Saturday, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.
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