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Traveler’s Log: Black Friday

This year, The Rock at Boston College is doing the season of joy in a big way by generating new content every day in our second annual “25 Days of Christmas”. The Rock is proud to present this installment in our holiday special.


On Friday, November 29th, our own Chris Pinto went to an outlet mall at midnight to experience Black Friday.  These are his notes.

Woodbury CommonsMidnight: My car pulls into the outlet mall parking lot. Outlet malls are the ideal location for Black Friday deals: everything is already cheap, and the outdoor spaces allow for greater freedom when moving between stores, because I am not about that ‘wait on line for an escalator at the real mall’ lifestyle. This outlet mall is called Woodbury Commons. Sounds quaint.

12:46am: It’s interesting how I say “on line,” even though most people will say “waiting in line.” But I grew up hearing “on line.” Still, weird.

12:49am: Just finished up some Googling, it turns out that people from the New York tri-state area will say “on line” because when people immigrated here and arrived at Ellis Island, they stood on lines that were literally painted on the floor! The more you know.

1:34am: Second deal of the day. Praise the Nike store and 50% off a new running jacket! I would also say praise to the Nike store’s t-shirts and that new hat I wanted, but they weren’t 50% off, only 40% #TheStruggleIsReal

1:59am: Things are getting testy in this J.Crew. I walked in about twenty minutes ago and immediately saw the watch and wallet combo I wanted to grab, but keeping your place on the line is damn near impossible! A teenage girl literally used a coat hanger to poke her way through the line to get to the front, it was crazy! Also, I stepped in a puddle of some gross indiscriminate liquid, and when I looked down there were so many feet moving around it was impossible to tell what it was!

2:25am: Banana. Republic. Is. A. Madhouse.

2:31am: Just tried getting myself a shirt at Banana Republic and another guy snatched it out of my hands so quick that it ripped. I tried to say something and he just looked at me and growled like a wolf or something. Also, another indiscriminate puddle.

2:50am: It was so busy in BR that it took close to twenty minutes to just walk out of the store! Looked at the bottom of my boot, and I’m actually pretty sure that the liquid I keep stepping in is blood. But I’m probably just standing in bad lighting, who would be bleeding in the middle of Woodbury Commons?

2:58am: I’m walking to try and find the Starbucks, and there’s almost nobody walking around outside. There was a single custodian sweeping things up, and maybe five other shoppers. There was also one woman sprinting into the parking lot. Strange, I guess.

3:01am: Starbucks found. There’s only one barista working, and she keeps looking out the window every few seconds. Also, the people who keep walking in and out aren’t actually saying anything, they’re just kind of grunting at each other.

3:09am: There are no people outside. I thought I saw a person from far away, but they were almost running like a wildebeest or a gorilla or something like that. Weird.

3:13am: I tried walking into the Clarks store (Chris needs a new pair of boots!) and as I tried to open the door, it was locked. There was this huddled mass of employees crouching in the corner. They won’t open the door.

3:24am: I keep hearing loud roaring and screaming, glass breaking, maybe even a fire burning somewhere in the distance. I’m trying to go to McDonalds, I’m having a craving for fries. Also, there’s a guy who I’m pretty sure has been following me around since Clark’s. He has this giant J. Crew that I honestly think might have blood on it, but again it could just be the lighting! At least, I hope it is…

Black Friday Woof3:30am: McDonalds has been found, and is apparently torn to shreds. McNuggets are all over the floor, and the soda fountain is still spewing Dr. Pepper so quick that it’s dripping onto the floor. Also, I’m pretty sure there are bloody footprints on the ground…

3:33am: This guy won’t stop following me. I’m just going to try and lose him in the parking lot. This place is getting really creepy, he’s the only person I’ve seen outdoors in almost an hour.

3:34am: Holy crap. I heard the screams getting louder and I turned around to see the creepy guy suddenly just be tackled by this other random man. I thought it was a security guard, but suddenly four other people jump out and start attacking him. They’re ripping his bags apart and stuffing whatever they find into their own bags. The poor guy is lying on the ground just screaming, “I just wanted his watch!” I guess he– oh no. Oh good god no, the horde has spotted me. And my bags.

3:44am: Please good god send help to Woodbury Commons. One of the horde members I lost making a sharp turn they couldn’t handle, and when I ran by the Williams Sonoma another got distracted by the window display. But, I think I’ve… No no no, they found me again, I’ve got to get out of here.

3:47am: I’m running through the parking lot, and I finally got to the driver’s seat of my car, but one of the beasts is gaining on me. This is my nightmare. This is how I die. He’s going to reach me before I can close my door, I– Oh my god. He got hit. He didn’t see the SUV backing up behind him. I can close my door, I don’t think the other two are strong enough to break through my window.

4:59am: I’m home now. The drive home was atrocious, there were accidents everywhere, cop cars and ambulances screaming down the highway towards every mall I could see. There were two fire trucks that had crashed into an Apple Store. It’s like the apocalypse out here. Also, something tried jumping on my car and I had to run it down. Most likely a person who smelled my Nike bag. Could also have just been a deer. But probably not.

5:15am: Time for a power nap before I reorganize my clothes and start doing the laundry I brought home with me. The smell of smoke from the burning Lord & Taylor a few miles down the road keeps seeping into the house. At least I’m safe in my own bed.

8:38am: Eh I like this sweater, but I don’t know that I love it. Whatever, I’ll just head out and exchange it this afternoon.

One Comment

  1. Chris is a brave soul. I can’t think offhand of anything I want badly enough, or at least anything one could buy at a mall, to put up with the horrors of “Black Friday.” What said it all to me about this day of the year was the incident, I think at a WalMart (where else?), where the hordes of greedy shoppers literally trampled an employee to death rushing for their bargains.

    In my family we have a sacred tradition for the Friday after Thanksgiving. All the males from toddler through geriatric inclusive drive up the lovely Taconic Parkway – – which passes no malls at all! – – and then shoot a round of sporting clays in the beautiful hills of Dutchess County, and then have lunch. Back in the day when there were toddlers involved, they carried a cute little Italian toy double shotgun which fired caps but broke open and loaded like the real thing so the kiddy learned safe gun handling. Even those who hate firearms can profit by doing something similar and enjoyable – – an art museum perhaps?

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