Taking Photos Of Black Friday

11.29.11

Ever since I experienced the madness of Black Friday while working at a Shopko in my early 20's I've wanted to witness the insanity again, this time simply as an observer, rather than a stressed out employee fleeing to the break room to escape monster shoppers. I finally got my chance late Thursday night. After a very relaxing Thanksgiving at my parent's house, I headed home and arrived in town at about 11:30. It was then that I passed the WalMart located a few blocks from my house and realized this would be a fantastic opportunity to witness Black Friday again. I was also very fortunate to have my Canon T1i in the trunk, battery charged and ready to go.

So instead of turning left to head up into the neighborhoods, I turned right into the WalMart parking lot. Instantly I could tell I'd picked the right place. The lot was packed with cars. There were still spaces here and there, but they were a decent walking distance from the entrance. I parked the car and hurried inside, camera ready. There was hardly anywhere to move in the store! It wasn't yet midnight and shoppers where bustling right and left, up and down every single aisle. There was also a gigantic line of shoppers that stretched from the front to the back of the store, each with their carts filled to the brim. I started snapping shots all over the place. There were so many people I could hardly believe it. I circled the store documenting the crowd then headed out the exit again, so happy to not be one of those insane shoppers.

I was so pleased with the photos I took, that I decided to try a few more nearby stores. I headed over to Kohls across the street and sure enough, the madness was there too, only Kohls hadn't opened it's doors yet. So I took photos of the gigantic line of shoppers waiting to enter the store. People eyed me strangely, wondering why I was there but not getting in the line. It made me laugh. Really? You think I'm strange? I got back in my car, happy that I was NOT a part of this.

I decided to make one more stop. I wasn't sure if malls were included in Black Friday or not, but I figured it was a good possibility, so I drove a little further to the local mall. When I reached the freeway exit and hit a huge block of traffic I knew I'd picked another great spot. It took a while to get a decent parking space, but I was lucky to arrive just as they were opening the mall doors to the crowd waiting outside. I snapped as many shots as I could of people rushing at the doors and watched with fascination as newcomers slipped inside before the waiting line had a chance.

As soon as all the people had filed inside, I went in after them. It was strange to see the mall booming with business so late at night. The crowds were massive and made it hard to get around, but I got some great photos of people flocking from one side of the mall to the other, up and down the stairs, and lining up again to get in the most popular stores. I have to admit, unlike the previous stores, the mall did have a merry excitement to it with a band playing and holiday treats for sale everywhere, but I'd never want to shop in that crowd!

I'm so glad I got a chance to witness Black Friday again, but I refuse to ever participate myself. It's pure madness and the frenzy somehow makes people a little crazy. I've heard horror stories and seen some shocking videos of people fighting over sales or getting trampled by crowds. Yes, the sales may be lower than any other time of the year, but lining up for a great deal doesn't make sense anymore. Ever since online shopping was invented, any one of those shoppers has the option of getting all the same deals in their pajamas at home, yet there they were, lined up for hours in the cold waiting to... shop. I just don't get it. But for all those of you who do line up for Black Friday, thanks for being crazy monster shoppers because I got some great photos of you making total fools of yourselves.

Merry Christmas!

Article written by Shelly Allen
Black Friday photos by Shelly Allen Photography.

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