EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Holiday shopping is going to look a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but shoppers are already turnout out ahead of official Black Friday.
With the holiday and the pandemic, you might be wondering what’s closed and what’s open this Thanksgiving.
At GameStop, about half-a-dozen shoppers are camping out overnight for Black Friday deals.
They have their chairs lined up and they are socially distant. They’re also in their cars. But because it’s Black Friday with COVID, they’re not sure exactly how it’s going to work. They only have a limited supply, and a lot of the stores aren’t doing those big deal busters at the door.
Derek Rivera of Hartford told News 8, “I got here at like 9 o’clock…I’m getting a turkey dinner brought to me right now. Yes strange times you know, we couldn’t secure a PlayStation online, that’s why we’re here, you know.”
While GameStop was not open on Thanksgiving Cabela’s was, and while there were no people waiting in lines or even lines at all, different people were there for different reasons.
Normally, there would be lines around the block at Cabela’s. The malls are always crowded, Best Buy would be directing traffic in the parking lot. But Thursday early evening, we saw most everything shut down.
Cabela’s was opened and they had a steady stream of people, but there were no lines and no waiting for the Black Friday deals!
When we talked to people, some came for the deals, others to support the workers, some for a return to a sense of normalcy in a time of COVID, and some just straight up came to see the Big Guy (Santa)!
Meha Srivastav, a mother with two of her kids from Glastonbury said, “We are going to see Santa…We told our neighbors we were going to see Santa and they were looking at us like ‘isn’t it a little early?’ And we are like ‘there are no lines!’”
Dylan Bassett also of Glastonbury said, “My grandmother took my baby cousins here the other day to go see Santa. It was all appointment, there were no lines, they were in and out in 10 minutes instead of waiting for a full two hours like I had to do when I was a kid.”
Bassett added that he expected to see more people out for the sales: “I expected it to be extremely busy here. It’s the day before Black Friday but I was in and out in 15 minutes and there are shocking a lot of deals. I was able to get the boots I wanted for 30 bucks off.”
Patrick of East Hartford said he came to the outdoor sports store because “I just saw it in the newspaper earlier so that is why I came by. I was like ‘wow we need that, we need that, we need that!’ And somethings were 30 or 40 or 50% off.”
Patrick also said he expected more shoppers: “I was expecting the parking lot to be half full, but I typically don’t do the Black Friday thing but now with everything going on I think people look forward to trying to get back to normal a little bit. Do you know?”
Bonnie Vaichus of Woodbury said shopping in-store supports local business: “I don’t want to give online my business. I want to support my state and support the people that are working here every day. There are a bunch of people in there that come here every day to work, and they need their jobs.”
And while Cabela’s closed Thursday at 6 p.m., they will be open again Friday and people are coming out saying there are more deals tomorrow, more deals at the mall. However, the hours will be scaled back at a lot of places. They will also dial down the amount of people allowed in the store so expect a different type of Black Friday.