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Local Black Friday shoppers, workers agree that crowds were larger than expected

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

It was a solid Black Friday shopping experience. One that felt a lot like the old, pre-pandemic days.

Eastview Mall in Victor and Destiny USA in Syracuse both saw major crowds. caught up with some shoppers at Eastview Mall, as the holiday rush began. “This year feels a lot like the old times,” said Jamie Elleston. “The stores are busy, people seem a lot more comfortable, and the sales are almost as good.”

While the turnout at Destiny USA was described as steady, workers at Eastview Mall said the morning and early-afternoon was busiest. “The first half of the day was really, really busy,” one worker who pulled a double shift added. “I left my other job at another store here, then came over for the afternoon to help my friend. It was busier this morning and afternoon, but it’s stayed steady right into the night.”

Some workers actually expected Saturday to be busier than Friday. One manager, who did not want to be identified in our story, said her staff has grown accustomed to busier Saturday’s over the holiday weekend.

“Black Friday isn’t what it used to be,” the longtime store manager said. “I’ve been here for about 18 years. Black Friday used to be much busier just based on duration of the day. Now it feels like another Saturday during the holiday season.”

This year did blow away her expectations.

“We were expecting it to be busy, but with the economy as it is now, I wasn’t expecting it to be this busy,” she added. “Call it pleasantly surprised. I was definitely pleasantly surprised watching the numbers come in this morning.”

Sales are expected to continue at most stores through the weekend and into the first half of December, as retailers fight inflation and higher costs.