Upstate shoppers take on Black Friday shopping despite a different experience amid COVID-19


SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA)–Black Friday shopping was in full swing across the Upstate. Some people said they’re keeping their tradition of shopping in-person, despite the pandemic.

The traffic at WestGate Mall was visibly steady on Friday, but there were less people out and about due to COVID-19. However, some stores were still filled with shoppers unbothered by the pandemic.

“It’s one of our mother daughter time together. We do this every year just to spend time with each other,” said Tammy Clary, a shopper.

Clary and her daughter were shopping at the mall since it opened at 7:00 a.m. Shopping on Black Friday, has been the mom and daughter duo’s thing for more than a decade. They along with Santa said the experience this year, is much different.

“The distance between me and the children. I don’t get to hold them, and I don’t get to touch them, which is kind of what I look forward to every year,” said WestGate Mall’s Santa.

Instead, Santa and shoppers were masked up, and socially distant. While some stores had lines outside the door, others saw a difference in their foot traffic.

“So normally we’re packed wall to wall, the whole store is full. Obviously we don’t have that because people are trying to stay within the guidelines, which is good. It did affect sales, because there aren’t as many people, but we try to make the best of it with who’s here and the best of the day,” said Leigh Wheat, employee at Journeys.

Making the best of the experience is why David Cannon, and his friends went to two different malls.

“I’m sort of ADHD. I got to be doing something all the time and I like to blow my money, so,” Cannon said. “I just like to be moving,” his friend added.

Wheat said they saw less shoppers out this year, but they were still busy filling online orders in-store.

“Or we will have orders due online, that we have to fill in-store because people haven’t come out and done it. Which is fine, we get it however we can. We’d rather be safe than you coming in here, and trying to get you to give us money, you know what I mean,” Wheat said.

While many may fear the pandemic, others said it’s about keeping traditions going.

“Just trying to keep our tradition going and try to enjoy it and make the best of what we do have and that we can come out and shop and be together,” Clary said.

For those worried about things being different around Christmas time, Santa said he’s keeping a tradition too.

“I’m going to be here and I’m coming to every house. So get ready for me,” Santa exclaimed.

The mall stayed opened until 9:00 p.m. for Black Friday shopping. Friday was the start of Santa’s duties at WestGate Mall for the season.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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