Reflections on Black Friday

I spent my first Black Friday in Las Vegas, determined to get the full experience. My husband and I started shopping at 11pm on Thanksgiving night, and went straight through until 9:30 am Friday.

I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in, well, decades. But it was fun and exhilarating, and there were no reports of any issues in Las Vegas.

We started our adventure by driving about 40 minutes outside Las Vegas to the Primm Outlet Stores. Most stores opened at 10pm on Thanksgiving, making this one of the earliest Black Friday sales. We arrived at 11pm and stayed until 1am. The mall was not crowded and so we were able to linger in our favourite stores. About 30 people waited for the doors to open at Nieman Marcus Last Call at midnight – not the crushing crowds you see on some TV reports. Great deals were had on already-discounted merchandise.

We left Primm and headed to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North, arriving about 2am. What a scene! If you’ve ever been, you know there are two decent sized parkades… but these were both full so traffic was directed to a large surface lot across the street. There were thousands of people out. This was the exciting part of our evening, just being with the crowds and watching some of the madness. I have to say that people were generally calm and respectful, even though the sheer number of people was amazing. The staff in the stores were unfailingly pleasant despite it being the middle of the night.

Our next stop was the Fashion Show Mall on the Strip. My real goal was to shop at Saks when it opened at 8am, but because we arrived around 5am, we had some time to kill. We went into Macy’s (which had opened at midnight) and we had breakfast at the food court. Most of the mall opened at 6am and we were surprised at how many people were already gathering at 5:30. Most, I will admit, looked more rested than we did – I suspect they had slept rather than shopped all night.

Saks was a delight as always. This is my favourite US store because they know how to do customer service right. I found some amazing deals, including a beautiful St. John jacket, regular $1275, for only $330. I discovered that Black Friday provides the opportunity to indulge in brands and fashion that might otherwise be out of range.

Would I do it again? Yes, although I wouldn’t shop all night. I discovered that, at the stores I wanted to visit, there was plenty of merchandise so rushing the doors is unnecessary.

But, it was an experience we won’t soon forget.

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