This holiday season — like the rest of this year — has been far from normal. Many aspects of daily life are now taboo, making way for awkward elbow bump greetings and face-mask double-takes.
As Santa Cruz County inches out of the pandemic, Lookout is chronicling the changes in our lives and the accomplishments of everyday people. “People in the Pandemic” is one of eight Lookout initiatives documenting all aspects of life amid COVID. For more, go to our COVID 2021 section, and sign up for COVID Text Alerts and our COVID PM newsletter here.
Meanwhile, each year, journalists cover the biggest shopping event of the year — Black Friday — with a mixture of voyeuristic pleasure (seeking out viral videos of shoppers fighting over vacuum cleaners) and chagrin (why is this news?).
In the middle of a coronavirus surge that has pushed our county back into purple tier restrictions, we wanted to know how Santa Cruzans are handling Black Friday this year, putting the question out there in various social media groups?
If our unofficial survey is any indication, the pandemic continues to prove bad for retail — and very good for Jeff Bezos and Mother Nature. A breakdown of the responses:
“Went downtown for the Lululemon sale with college daughter....very empty except for that store, virtual line (i.e. they text you when it’s your turn) and small line at O’Niels. There was a wait at some restaurants.” — Denise Owens Beld on Facebook
“I’m doing it all. Online big brands, in person for local small business. We also picked out our Xmas tree, opted outside for half day and will end the night with a drive in movie at the boardwalk.” — Angelea Mendenhall on Facebook
“Enjoying my kids walked on the beach for a couple hours...now I have turkey veggie soup in the instant pot I did do some online shopping Wednesday black friday sales started early.” — Julie Conway on Facebook
“Online shopping and resting and eating. Lol” — Heather Uhlemann Willis on Facebook
“A little bit of online shopping and eating leftovers..keeping sweats on all day but did take a shower” — Steph Vomvolakis on Facebook
“I took my pooch and met my best friend for a socially distanced walk at the beach on this beautiful day! I’m considering online shopping for out-of-town relatives, but I would love to shop at local small businesses as much as possible. Haven’t done in-person Black Friday shopping in over 25 years and I definitely don’t miss it!” — MaryJo McElwee Van Verth on Facebook
“My wife is doing it online, and it’s pretty hectic. She didn’t realize what was going on at first; found something she was looking for 25 percent off from the commerce site of a brick-and-mortar retailer. It was in stock in several varieties. She wandered away to do something for a few minutes, and they were all out of stock.” — Tall Mickey on Reddit
Skipping this year
“Couldn’t pay me enough to threaten my husband’s health by going out shopping today or any day.” — Cynthia Sims on Facebook
“Skipping it altogether” — Peggy Anderson on Facebook
“We’re staying in our pajamas and eating leftovers all day.” — Cheryl Edmonds on Facebook
“We went to Crest Ranch up in Bonny Doon for a Christmas tree. It was hit really hard by the fires and two thirds of it are gone but we found a nice little tree and enjoyed the incredible view and it felt good to support them. There were a lot of people but everyone was wearing masks and keeping away. No shopping. We have done a little online shopping but this is a home made gift kind of year for us.” — okworks on Reddit
“There are enough people with a serious lack in understanding of the germ theory that any day when crowds might go out, I stay in” — Karl T. Lund on Facebook
“No shopping for me today. Instead I put up the tree and decorated for Christmas.” — Mary Fackler Derringer on Facebook
“No Black Friday shopping!! Sitting in backyard smoking some yummy salmon.” — Evertje Meester on Facebook
“Savoring my simple thanksgiving ... played some tennis and eating leftovers. Ping pong, games, and talking with my kids. Why add more anxiety to this year?” — Mia Kettmann on Facebook
“Skimping! . . . beautiful day in Capitola !” — Isilda Heston wrote on Facebook, sharing the colorful picture of the beach and homes
“Went for long walk on beach and found these treasures” — Melinda Bostock wrote on Facebook sharing a picture of sea glass and shells
Never do it anyway
“I always skip it! I can’t deal with crowds.” — Carolyn Biddick on Facebook
“I’m not fighting anyone for a $10 blender a day after giving thanks for what we already have. I’ll be home protecting turkey leftovers and my wine.” — Ericka Sklennik on Facebook
“Don’t fall for the big sales gimmicks, we don’t need much these days.” — Susan Tallarico on Facebook
“Breaking out the Christmas decorations and eating leftovers. I always boycott Black Friday.” — Pamela Kiper Randall on Facebook
“I never participate in Black Friday. We are also avoiding crowds generally. We will participate in Small Business Saturday but mostly online or during off peak hours.” — Jennifer Olson
“I’ve never “done” Black Friday. Took a nice beach walk with a friend, since I had the day off work.” — izzgo on Reddit
There was one last response that didn’t fit any category but resonated with us the most.
George Rentschler on Facebook told us in one word what he did today: “Working.”
Same, George. Same.