How Is Black Friday Different This Year? Hip2Save Readers Share Their Memories Of Years Past

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Black Friday feels a little different this year…

man in Christmas suit

We’re just gonna say it… Black Friday just isn’t the same as it used to be.

One of the biggest days of the year used to be Black Friday. For us hopeful deal hunters, it was the one day we could score truly epic deals on that year’s most coveted items.

Remember standing in line at midnight to scoop up that big-screen TV you’d been dreaming about? How about spending part of Thanksgiving browsing the ads to find the hottest deals, those that were available for one day only? Some of us would camp outside stores for hours waiting for the doors to open, and when they did, it was game on!

Whether you braved the crowds alone or did it as a family, you knew it would be a wild shopping trip to remember!

shopping bags

Even if you hated Black Friday, the day was a tradition. You knew to expect a crowded shopping mall. You knew to expect certain stores, like Best Buy or Walmart, to be packed with so many people that it was probably a fire hazard. Heck, you even knew to expect a few skirmishes in the shopping aisles! 😂

Still, if you managed to score that rare deal, you knew you’d feel a sense of victory. You knew if you could joyfully return home with that item you or kiddo so desperately wanted, braving the crowds and long lines would be 100% worth it. Most of all, you knew that for better or worse, it would be a day to remember.

There used to be something a little magical about Black Friday. ✨

Shopping bags - how is black friday different?

Then, before we knew it, the world changed a little too fast and the magic of that day began to dwindle.

Black Friday doesn’t seem to even take place on Black Friday anymore. Many stores start their “Black Friday” sales as early as October. 🤯 These sales are almost all online now (thanks to new technology and the aftermath of the pandemic). It’s tempting to purchase gifts from the comfort of the couch instead of hitting the stores with a friend or family member. While it has its perks, it feels like we’ve traded making memories for convenience.

It turns out that the Hip2Save team members aren’t the only ones missing the magic of Black Fridays past. When Hip2Save’s Paige recently shared her nostalgia with readers, so many of you wrote in to tell us your favorite Black Friday memories!

women with laptop in plaid pajamas

Here’s what Hip2Save readers had to say about the Black Friday of yesteryear:

“I used to really enjoy the shopping and the camaraderie and the fun of the day. Now there are none of those things. It’s just not fun like it was then.” – Diana

“I miss the Toys R Us book that came out on Thanksgiving day. My kids would get so excited to circle everything they wanted ❤️ I just miss the way this world used to be all the way around.  😭 – Pam

“Black Friday was a girl’s day for us! After lunch, we drug out the sales ads and planned what we were going for and where. Usually pizza and daiquiris that night. Kind of like a slumber party with my mom and sisters. Every year we would say never again lol. Miss my mom and shopping day terribly.”Anita C.

“Getting the newspaper on Wednesday. Assigning each child an item to get. Getting up at 2:30 a.m… taking turns waiting in line. Then feeling so satisfied when we got all the wanted items. Then treated the kids to a big breakfast at Denny’s…..The rest of the day we’d eat leftovers and watch movies together!! 😭😭😭– Anita M.

“I totally agree!! I’ve been doing it for over 30 years!! Used to be just me, but now all of my girls go too!! 🥰 It’s become a tradition!! A day when I have All of my girls together!! And one of my most favorite times!! We do breakfast too!!” – Barbara

“I miss going after a newspaper on thanksgiving morning and planning our Black Friday shopping. I even miss getting up at 3 am to go stand in line for whatever my son just had to have for Christmas.” – Sandie

“It’s just not the same! Even when ads became digital I never looked at them ahead of time. Opening the paper and going through the ads on Thanksgiving day was one of my favorite things. And the excitement of being out all night can’t be beat!” – Christy

“Me and my daughters would make matching shirts. We would bring out the whiteboard and all the sale ads on Thanksgiving after dinner and plan our strategy.” – Daronda

“Weeks and weeks of online shopping take the fun out of it. I used to have a friend that I would go out with on Friday. She would pick me up at 3am and we would hit all the stores we carefully planned out from the Thanksgiving paper flyers. We would be done before noon and go out to lunch. It was so much fun” – Stefanie

“I remember being in line at midnight, full of excited anticipation of what I was going to find. Shopping for hours and stopping for breakfast with friends before going back home and passing out!! Today’s generation will never know the joy of that.” – Ahna

And some of you don’t miss Black Friday so much…

target employee helping customer

Some of you report loving the new Black Friday, especially if you work in retail or hate to shop. That’s okay, too! If you want to read all the responses to our Black Friday post, you can view them on our Facebook page.

Whether you love or hate the *new* Black Friday, we’d love to hear more of your opinions and memories in the comments!

Plan to shop this year? Don’t miss these hot Black Friday deals!

About the writer:

Kara is a writer and photographer from the Midwest. Her creative work has appeared in various publications over the past decade. With a background in finance, she loves to be money-savvy.

Join The Discussion

Comments 14

  1. CJ

    It was fun reading the recollections! I only went BF shopping one time. (And you’ll be able to tell how long ago by it!) I usually chose to work on BF because I could get so much more done in a mostly empty office, but one thanksgiving I was so tempted by a Christmas sweater sale (back when they were fashionable, not a joke!!!) I decided to brave it and head out before work. They were on sale at Bradlees for $10 which was awesome because of the lovely embroidery and brass button accents! There was a Bradlees across from the train station before mine and I thought if I was there at 6am I could grab it and get out and be on the train by 8:00 am. So I chanced it. It was mobbed but I ran in with everyone when the doors opened at 6:00. I grabbed the loveliest sweater quickly and thought “this was a piece of cake!” I even took a moment to look around at a few other things because, heck, I had time – I didn’t want to get to work too early!!! 🤣. I didn’t get anything but the sweater but it was fun to browse for about 15 mins. I meandered up to the registers and since I was a newbie I stood there literally in shock! All lanes were opened and it was mobbed…like 20+ people in each lane!!!! 😬😳😬. I had no idea that people went shopping like it was a mission, the grab and go technique was their M.O. They’d have a list of what to grab and they’d only get that and then pay and get out to head to the next store. I debated for a moment should I just drop it and run out or wait and perhaps be late? My longing for that “gorgeous” sweater won out and I waited. It took forever!!!! I finally had paid (by check, it was THAT long ago! 🥴) and ran out the door, threw my bounty on the front seat and drove fast to get to the station a few minutes away. Fortunately for me, not many people were working so I got a pretty close parking space and I ran to catch the train. I must confess I was a few minutes late getting in the office, but no one knew because I was the only one there 🤣🤣🤣! A week later I was hot stuff wearing my overly fancy Christmas sweater to the office party!!!! So, I’ve only went BF shopping one time but it still sticks in my mind from decades ago! (And I’m from the “love online shopping” team!)

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh my goodness, CJ! I absolutely loved reading about your Black Friday shopping experience! Thank you so much for taking the time to share! 🤗❤️ So glad to hear that you scored your Christmas sweater after all – and weren’t too late back to work! 🎄🙌 It’s been about 10 years since the last time I truly have braved the crowds in-store, and I remember going with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. We definitely had a plan for a few stores – and one was for someone to be the “runner” and someone else to get the spot in line, so I definitely felt it when you mentioned how long the lines were! 🤪 Great memories! ❤️

  2. Doxelvr

    I definitely miss the old way making memories with family and friends. It was so much fun!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Yes, it sure was! 🥰 Hoping you might be able to create some new Black Friday traditions and memories! 🎄

  3. Lora

    I personally prefer the sales spread out and wish there were better sales in December because that’s when I am ready to Christmas shop. I prefer Thanksgiving weekend to be about sleeping in and spending time with family. I have done the black Friday events and I do not miss it!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing how you prefer to shop, Lora! Hoping we see continued awesome deals through December! 🎄❤️

  4. Christmas Elf

    I’ve been going BF shopping since I was old enough to have my own spending money. My mom would go on her own first and then take my sister and I out after she had done her shopping until we were old enough to go with her. We don’t make the amount of purchases that we used to do, but its tradition to spend that time together.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing, Christmas Elf! 😉🎄 Love that you continue to go Black Friday shopping for the memories and together time! ❤️

  5. Amy

    My mom, sisters, and I used to wake up super early, go shopping in our goofy sleep deprived giggly moods and then end the day going to get breakfast. I very much miss those days!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for taking the time to share your memories with us, Amy! This sounds much like my experience with my mom and sister in past years. ❤️🤗

  6. Minka

    I really miss the ads. After the dishwasher was going on Thursday afternoon, I would pour some Bailey’s and start going through my stack of ads, making notes. I was usually up around 4 am. By then the diehards were gone, but it was early enough I could always find what I wanted. It was my time.

    • Claudette (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing, Minka!! I miss the ads, too!🛍

  7. NanaDonna26

    I did the BF experience when the kids were little. One year my husband went in to get a certain Transformer toy for our son. He came home and told me about his experience with an elderly woman, all the grabbing and commotion, long lines, etc. etc. for A TOY!… and proclaimed he’d never do it again. I always dreaded the parking and traffic congestion, long lines for a couple of items (to only get bumped back and held up longer because someone is “holding a spot” with “a few items” and their wife/friend comes up and unloads their full cart OR waits in line with that person). Once the kids were older and online shopping became the way to look, research, buy, I was hooked on that! Now that I’m retired, I’m very content to avoid the crowds/commotion/parking and gladly shop from home or in the middle of the week, early in the day at a store… way less stress for me.

    • Claudette (Hip Sidekick)

      I totally agree with you NanaDonna26!!! Shopping at home is the way to go!🎁

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