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Holiday shoppers encounter busy malls

November 27, 2000

Filling up with turkey on Thanksgiving left many with the energy to go into combat the next morning - in the battlefields of shopping malls.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, known to retailers as the busiest shopping day of the year, offers a time for the public to start its holiday shopping.

Nancy Freeman, a West Bloomfield resident, was at Sommerset Collection in Troy on Friday.

“Every year I promise myself I won’t go out shopping (the day after Thanksgiving), and every year that turns into only going to a few stores,” Freeman said. “I think it is all the sales advertised that brings me in.”

While the malls are packed, other shoppers are not the only obstacle adding frustrations. The lack of employees and personal attention is also a problem.

“Although Jacobson’s was well-staffed, no one else in the mall seemed to be Friday,” said Rachel Devenow, a senior at East Lansing High School. Devenow was shopping at Jacobson’s in Meridian Mall, 1982 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos, on Sunday. “It seemed like the people that were working were not interested in helping anyone.”

At Pamela’s Hallmark Shop in Meridian Mall, one employee thought she handled the mob well.

“Although this is the first holiday I have worked (in retail), I still knew to expect it was going to be crazy,” employee Katie Saltzgaber said. “It was busy, but it really was not that bad.”

Saltzgaber said the store was well-staffed for the day in anticipation of the crowd.

“Customers didn’t seem to be too frustrated,” she said. “Although the lines went all the way toward the back of the store, I didn’t see anyone turn away because of them.”

The long lines at many stores in Meridian Mall were not common at outside shopping venues. The stores in the downtown area were not hit as hard Friday.

“Friday went OK and we weren’t as busy as we anticipated,” said Jill Repasky, the women’s manager at Urban Outfitters, 115 E. Grand River Ave. “We actually ended up being more busy the following weekend.”

Repasky explains the slower traffic Friday was due to the amount of students who returned home for the holiday weekend.

“I would assume (the atmosphere) was more relaxed than the mall,” she said.

Like many stores, Urban Outfitters has prepared for the upcoming season by hiring extra holiday help.

“With the holidays coming we hired extra staff because we are anticipating more business,” Repasky said. “Everyone goes holiday shopping whether they are students or families.”

Despite the havoc at stores and malls, shoppers aren’t discouraged, Devenow said.

“Even though the day after is not my favorite day to shop, I know that I will end up at the mall again next year,” she said. “There really is not anything else to do.”


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