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Students participate in Black Friday shopping

John Cameron | Monday, November 28, 2011

When major retailers like Walmart and Target began their Black Friday sales over Thanksgiving break, the shopping rush drew some Notre Dame students straight from the dinner table.

Senior Michelle Ferreira, a Los Angeles native who stayed in South Bend for the break, started Black Friday on Thursday.

“I ended up leaving dinner at about 9 p.m. [Thursday], and I headed over to Walmart” she said. “They opened everything at 10 p.m. and it was pure chaos. It was absolutely nuts.”

Ferreira had never heard of Black Friday before coming to Notre Dame, she said, and she was surprised by how seriously some took the sales.

“People waiting had lawn chairs out, it was completely packed,” Ferreira said. “You had to know what area you wanted, because people had obviously scoped it out days in advance. There was like a 200 person line in every aisle. I wanted to get out as soon as possible.”

Ferreira said some of her fellow bargain-hunters let the mania get the best of them.

“I didn’t see pepper spraying or gun shots or whatever, but I saw people crying, I saw some disputes between people,” she said. “They were cutting in line, there were some disputes between families — there was just chaos.”

Ferreira walked out of the store unscathed with a number of additions to her movie collection.

“It was $1.96 for DVDs. And they were recent movies, too,” she said. “I got The Hangover and my brother wanted Fast Five Blu-ray for Christmas. They had it for $10.”

While shoppers like Ferreira hit the aisles early, not all of the deals were snatched up by the time the second wave of shoppers arrived Friday. Junior Aurora Kareh opted for a Friday afternoon shopping trip at The Woodlands Mall in her Texas hometown.

“It was 2 or 3 p.m. when we got to Macy’s,” Kareh said. “It was more full than I had ever seen it, but it wasn’t what I expected it had been when they opened.”

Unlike Ferreira’s DVD hunt, Kareh did not have a plan of action when she arrived at the mall.

“I didn’t have anything specific in mind that I wanted to buy, but I knew Macy’s would have good deals on things I would be interested in,” she said.

Junior Lexi Casaceli’s Black Friday shopping at the Lee Outlets in Lee, Mass., was even less deliberate.

“We went after lunch on a spur-of-the-moment trip because it was such a nice day out, so we would be able to enjoy the weather while shopping at the outdoor outlets,” she said.

Like Kareh, Cascaceli avoided the intensity of the late-night shoppers.

“Unfortunately, I saw nothing ridiculous,” Cascaceli said. “We had missed most of the Black Friday deals at the outlet that went from midnight to 6 a.m., so the crazies weren’t out, although there were still a lot of shoppers.”

Ferreira said these giant crowds, at least in South Bend, may be a result of the economic climate.

“In South Bend, it’s pretty nuts,” she said. “The economy is hurting people, so everyone’s taking advantage of what they can with savings.”

Ferreira said one Black Friday shopping trip was enough for her.

“I won’t be going back next year,” she said. “I’m a senior, so no more South Bend crazy Black Fridays for me. Unless I need a 70-inch plasma for half-off down the road, no thanks.”