Journey to the center of the mall


The month of November bore witness to many celebrated American traditions: Thanksgiving, No-Shave November and, most importantly, Black Friday.

For anybody who doesn’t follow my weekly columns, two Tuesdays ago, I explored the Black Friday phenomenon, what it represents to American consumers and my predictions with regard to the anticipated unruly turnout. 

This week, I come to you from a different, more worldly vantage point. For now, you see, my opinions and attacks on Black Friday will not come from loosely formed hypotheses. No, today, I write to you as a veteran of the infamous Black Friday sensation.

As the detailed log of my Black Friday endeavors will show, I was neither the occasion’s biggest fan nor its biggest consumer. 

3 a.m.: I woke up from a peaceful and full-to-bursting-stomach-aided slumber. I realized that it had been a mere two hours since I fell asleep in the first place. On such an inadequate amount of sleep, pushing through soccer moms and tech-savvy uncles enraged with determination in their quest to secure to-die-for deals did not float my boat. I slipped back into a content slumber. 

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

10 a.m.: I woke up once more, and this time I stayed awake. I laboriously completed the standard wake up, brush your teeth, make your bed, justify-leftover-pumpkin-pie-as-being-an-acceptable-form-of-breakfast type tasks. Then, my Black Friday partner in consumerism, Robby, and I embarked on what I will refer to as “Journey to the Center of the Mall.”

12 p.m.: Who wants to shop on an empty stomach? It became imperative that we address this concern, so we pulled in to the nearest McDonald’s. Unfortunately, other shoppers — probably a good deal of those perusing the IKEA down the road — had similar thoughts. The lines were atrocious and it took Robby approximately seventeen minutes to procure three burgers and a medium order of fries. Things weren’t off to a good start. 

1 p.m.: Eventually, we arrived at the mall. The parking situation was similar to that of Disney World: Our car was situated hundreds of feet away from the mall’s entrance. Unlike Disney World, however, there was no tram or monorail system to transport us closer to the gates. We walked, and it’s quite possible that I burned off the entirety of my pie-for-breakfast caloric intake. 

1:15 p.m.: We made it to the entrance of the mall and began to observe the ambiance and the sales. A woman turned violently toward the face of her infant child and screamed rather loudly, “YOU’RE BEING TOO LOUD.” A mall cop slid by, equipped with a helmet and a Segway. The crowd level, on a loosely defined ten-point scale (based on people per square foot, noise level, etcetera), was approximately nine. I grabbed onto the end of Robby’s coat, lest we become separated by a family of five carrying somewhere close to six shopping bags per person, or a Segway-yielding mall cop. 

1:45 p.m.: The sales we’d come across by this point were eclectically futile at best. One store sold $55.00 bow ties for roughly $50.00. Another provided the completely useful sales tactic of “Buy Three Life-size Stuffed Rhinos, Get a Fourth Rhino Free!” The line at Forever 21 appeared longer than the Raging Bull queue at Six Flags, and was dominated by Ugg adorned tweens, to boot.

3:00 p.m.: We left the mall exhausted and empty-handed. After two long, wearisome hours of weaving through hair-straightening booths, Santaland, and hoards and hoards of equally exhausted shoppers, we decided we were completely Black Friday’d out. Having only spent $5 on McDonald’s for sustenance, we decided the consumer-heavy holiday just wasn’t for us, and mutually agreed to just buy everything on Amazon.

In short, Black Friday was a rather entertaining spectacle to take part in, but the overly stupid amounts of road, food court and department store congestion were simply not an opportunity cost we found necessary to save maybe a few dollars on an already-expensive cashmere sweater.

Carly is a junior in FAA. She can be reached at [email protected].