Black Friday 2020: Shopping in a pandemic, after storms

Crystal Stevenson

Black Friday looked a little different for Valarie Thomas this year.

Instead of a buggy filled with Christmas toys, her’s was filled with household goods.

“I just needed to get a little bit of stuff for my house that I’ll need when I get back in my home,” she said while stopping to look at dish towels on sale at the Walmart SuperCenter on Martin Luther King Highway Friday morning. “I’m not out here for the Black Friday things, I’m just grabbing what I’ll need and then I’ll head on back.”

Thomas’ South Lake Charles home, like many in Southwest Louisiana, suffered severe damage when the double-punch of Hurricanes Laura and Delta hit the region.

“We have mold in the walls, the roof was messed up; the house had to be gutted completely,” she said. “I’m basically going to be starting from scratch.”

In her buggy, she had bath towels, picture frames and a Bluetooth speaker “because I like to listen to music when I’m cleaning up.”

Thomas said she’s doubtful she will get to spend Christmas in her own home, but she might be back in it the first part of the year.

“I don’t think of it as a bad, bad thing,” she said. “I know I’m displaced from my home but others lost so much more and are doing without. I have a place to stay while the home is being repaired and I’m grateful I do have a home to go back to.”

At Kohl’s on Friday, the trio of Bridget Breaux, daughter Marce Breaux and daughter-in-law Taylor Breaux could be heard laughing in the toy department.

“Black Friday really starts the holiday season for us,” Bridget said.

“Our husbands hate it, but it’s a tradition now,” Taylor said. “I’m not a morning person, either, only on Black Friday.”

For the past three years, the trio have worn matching shirts as they head out for holiday deals.

“I usually go on Pintrest and choose our shirt design,” Marce said. “This year the selection was kind of boring but then I found these and they’re perfect.”

Her light blue shirt read “Black Friday 2020: Catching sales, not COVID.”

“We thought it was fitting,” she said with a laugh.

The trio said the crowds weren’t as large this year, which allowed them to move around easier and at a faster pace.

“I also got front-row parking out front, so that’s a plus,” Taylor said.

“We even got coffee in about five minutes when normally on Black Friday it takes an hour,” Marce added.

Bridget said Black Friday shopping was a tradition she used to do with her mother each year.

“But it’s a bit harder for Mom to get around these days so now I go with my girls,” she said.Shoppers take advantage of Black Friday prices at Walmart on Nelson Road.

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