Black Friday came and went in a flash. People camped out, stood in line for hours on end, and scrambled for the best buys. Yet, in a privately owned boutique, Black Friday wasn’t a day of chaotic shopping.
Crystal House was filled with a unique array of clothes and accessories including hand painted leather bags called Anushka, charm bracelets and Necklaces from Denmark called Troll Beads, and bags made out of woven seat belts, called Harvey’s Seatbelt bags.
The smaller boutique is located in a strip mall off of the Foley bridge in Coon Rapids, MN, and draws in its regulars along with the occasional crowd from the neighboring Sammy’s Pizza or AMC theatre.
I worked on Black Friday at the Crystal House Boutique; the place I have been working for three years.
According to “Black Friday By The Numbers” on accounting-degree.org, in 2011, 86 million people shopped on Black Friday, and 89 million shopped in 2012. According to the Black Friday Yearly Spending on statisticbrain.com, the average amount of consumers that shop on Black Friday is 307 million.
This Black Friday was the first I had ever worked. Despite the sale we were having and the large amount of consumers that were expected on Black Friday, it was a lot more relaxing than I had expected. I have heard my fair share of horror stories of endless lines of customers, merchandise splayed out and displays demolished at other businesses. Yet, working at a boutique turns out to have its perks.
“Crystal House is easier than any other place you will work at on Black Friday, because it’s smaller and not as well known,” said Katie Nylin, a fellow co-worker.
One of the reasons why the boutique isn’t as well known is because it is privately owned. Two older women created Crystal House to add some needed happiness in their lives. The boutique is meant to balance out the hard times they experience in their long-term health care business.
Nylin and I worked the 2 p.m.- 9 p.m. shift. During this time we had sporadic moments of 10 or less customers milling through the store. We sold a lot of merchandise and did well, but we never found ourselves overwhelmed with a stampede of customers.
Nylin has worked on Black Friday before in food service, but not in the boutique.
“It was busier than a normal day [at Crystal House], but it was nothing we couldn’t handle,” Nylin said.
Nylin listed a few Black Friday shopping etiquette that she felt all consumers should know.
“Have patience on the customer service people, for the love of God,” Nylin said. “They are doing their best.”
There was the occasional “Do you have anymore shoes in this style in this size?” or “Can you get something down for me?” from customers, but there were no signs of rudeness or chaos that can often be associated with Black Friday shopping.
Most of the customers on Black Friday were regulars and were excited to see how the boutique was decorated for the holiday season. The store was filled with the chit-chat and the quiet laughter of the customers as they visited and admired the surrounding lights and tinsel that added to the decorated store.
Nylin also said that it was important for people not to crowd each other while shopping or while waiting in line.
“I have been in lines where people have been right up against you and it feels like you have a monkey on your back,” Nylin said.
Despite Crystal House’s somewhat humble size, and numerous types of merchandise, there was no crowding to be seen. There was never enough people to fill the store completely at one time and crowds came and went in small waves of time.
To top it off, Nylin said that people must remember to be courteous.
“There is no need to get nasty,” Nylin said. “People can still be human on Black Friday.”
Nylin suspected that a lot more people would come on Small Business Saturday, because Crystal House is a small business. When Saturday came around the six hours I worked, there were customers coming in and out of the store non-stop. Our sale had gone down from 40% off to only 25% and yet, we had a lot more customers.
So, despite the chaos that may have occurred in other stores on Black Friday, Nylin and I were able to enjoy a relaxing shift.
I’m the editor for the variety section. I will be graduating in 2017 and I am a double major in multimedia journalism and political science. This is my third year writing for the paper, but my second year on staff. On campus I also like to perform in spoken word events. In my free time I enjoy writing poetry, reading a good book, or just getting off campus and spending time with my friends.