Enjoyment gone and patience lost on Black Friday

By Melissa Modesti top Jen Smi
November 29, 2001

Melissa Modesti

Black Friday to me means that just one day out of the year every woman in my family can get together and go out for a day of just pure bliss. I guess you can say this year was not the pure bliss that I had been waiting for.

Any person who shops on Black Friday will tell you that you can never find a parking spot any time after 8 a.m. To start our day off, it was not the usual mile walk to the front door, but instead we ended up getting a front parking spot and waltzing across one street to the entrance yet we were greeted by armed guards opening the door. It was then that we realized that this day that we had waited for all year had not only changed, but was putting a damper on the tradition that we have shared within my family for years.

I must say that the service in the stores was very good. The sales people did every thing they could to make this shopping trip as normal and enjoyable as possible. The majority of the people looked as though they were at least trying to enjoy themselves. However, the vibe in the atmosphere was one that said, “Lets get what we need and get out of here!”

The tradition is broken. The men still watched the games but the women lost their day of shopping. We returned home from the mall that day by noon. In previous years we would not have returned until five at night. It is really hard to realize that all of this fear has been caused by terrorists. They have not only torn the heart out of our nation, but have ruined little things like traditions for families everywhere.

The Sept. 11 attacks have not only torn families apart by losing loved ones, but it has also changed families across the nation. The present fear no longer allows us to function as a normal nation. My grandmother, who is almost 75 years old and has shopped on this day for 70 of those years, was scared to go to the mall. My mother was afraid to use paper money, in fear that terrorists might have put anthrax on it. My aunts were scared to bring my little cousins in case the armed guards would scare them to the point of hysteria.

Honestly, I was scared too. I would have never thought in my lifetime that any one of these problems would have ever been a factor to my family, but now I live in these fears each day. The nation is trying to come together and fight the terrorists in any way they can; I just don’t see any change happening.

Jen Smith

I wasn’t scared unlike my shopping counterpart. My Black Friday at the mall consisted of being treated badly by rude customers. I work in a teenage clothing store in the King of Prussia mall. I come from an area a lot like Radnor in fact, so I am used to some of the attitudes that come along with the zip code.

However, there is no excuse for the way that some of the children and their parents treat salespeople who are just trying to help their shopping experience to be an enjoyable one.

If people were being rude because they were afraid, then all I have to say is “stay home.” If you are so terrified of the mall that you are going to be looking over your shoulder all day, then you probably shouldn’t be shopping. Go home, relax, and wait until the crowds die down or your unreasonable fear of being attacked fades away. Living in fear is no way to live and it’s especially no way to go shopping.

I didn’t see any armed guards on Black Friday but I would have liked some on either side of me to protect me from snappy parents who didn’t want any parts of my help. People were brushing me off before I even had a chance to welcome them to our store. I’m sorry but since when is a little kindness such an offensive gesture?

I think that people have been trained throughout their experience to view salespeople as pushy, obnoxious, liars who are only out for a buck. This is definitely not the case, at least not in the store where I work.

I work there because I know what I’m talking about and most of the customers do not. This is what I do for a living, please do not yell at me for trying to be helpful. A person works to pay the bills and to hopefully in some way benefit society. That is all I’m trying to do at the mall.

Some people were a little more willing to offer a smile and a “thank you” but it was unfortunately a rare occurrence. Maybe the cause for all the hostility was the having to park in a different time zone and pack a lunch for your walk from your car to the mall. Maybe it was because people were afraid. Or maybe it was simply because people have no appreciation for some good old-fashioned customer service.

I don’t know. All that I do know is that if Black Friday was any indication, our livelihood could never depend solely on the kindness of others, or we would never make a dime.

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Melissa Modesti top Jen Smi

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