TAMPA — Sebastian Arias, on the hunt for a good deal for an air fryer to surprise his mom, decided to do Black Friday old-school.
Armed with beach chairs, a buddy and a blanket to ward off the November chill, he set up outside a Tampa Best Buy at 1 a.m. for the 5 a.m. opening. By 4, a small crowd had gathered. And by 6, he was loading his boxed booty into his car in the still-dark parking lot.
“We wanted to have the whole (Black Friday) experience,” said Arias, a 23-year-old college student. And it was worth it, he said: “I saved like 30 bucks.”
Across Tampa Bay, Black Friday shoppers hit the stores in search of holiday deals after a most untraditional year, courtesy of the pandemic. Some said supply chain-caused shortages and price hikes were on their minds, especially when they noticed some go-to buys costing more this year.
But for many, it was just good to be back out and on the hunt.
Keyota James, waiting with her husband outside a Tampa Target for the 7 a.m. opening, said she didn’t mind that many major stores decided not to open on Thanksgiving Day again this year.
“It was nice to have family time, go to sleep and wake up and get the deals,” she said.
Her husband, Alex James, had a PlayStation 5 gaming console in mind — one that he said had been sold out for a month. Just then, a Target employee came out to tell everyone to be careful getting in once the doors opened — and to let them know there were no PS5s to be had today.
“I expected that,” James said.
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 158 million people planned to shop over this Thanksgiving weekend, most of them on Friday. That’s 2 million more than last year, during the pandemic, but below the 165 million who hit the stores in 2019.
Sixty-four percent of shoppers planned to go to brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday, compared to 51 percent last year when coronavirus fears kept many at home.
Deals being too good to pass up was the number one reason cited by people planning to shop this weekend, followed by tradition, according to the survey.
“We never miss a Black Friday,” said Selena Tepepa, a nurse who scored a video doorbell and an Alexa device at a Tampa Best Buy near Raymond James Stadium before the sun was up.
Follow trends affecting the local economy
Subscribe to our free Business by the Bay newsletterWe’ll break down the latest business and consumer news and insights you need to know every Wednesday.Loading...
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox?
Let’s get started.
Source : https://www.tampabay.com/news/business/2021/11/26/tampa-bay-hits-the-stores-to-revive-black-friday-shopping-tradition/923