Black Friday raises concerns regarding supply challenges, gathers excitement from consumers

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Photo by Carter Jones

Westfield Montgomery Mall attempts to draw in Black Friday shoppers with the wide range of stores that it offers.

Despite the influx of businesses facing supply chain shortages as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Black Friday still managed to draw immense crowds. Popular local shopping destination, Montgomery Mall, saw massive crowds throughout the day, on par with its typical annual Black Friday popularity. 

The supply chain issues have worsened due to shipping and manufacturing challenges. It did not help that major ports around the U.S. were far behind on unloading shipments. CNBC reported that online sales were predicted to rise by 10% during Black Friday. Despite all of these uncertainties, in-person shopping saw a spike of 48% from last year, according to the New York Times. 

The shipping port problems persist throughout the country, as major U.S. ports have had interruptions in their unloading of shipments. “I have seen ports with large backups, and it is difficult for them to catch up. I know these ports are doing a lot to try and get caught up, but it is a complex issue related to when shipments come in, inspections, and when cargo is picked up by ​distributors,” economics teacher Bryce Coon said.  

Meanwhile, the return to in-person shopping contrasted greatly from the virtual environment that was on the rise during the last year-and-a-half. This proved to be a positive experience for shoppers. “I went to the mall during Black Friday and because I went in the morning it wasn’t that crowded. It was nice seeing people shopping again and I had a great time with my cousin and sister,” senior Hannah Eisenfeld said. 

As shipping backlogs continue to overwhelm ports nationwide, fears of price inflation are mounting. Forbes writes that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is at a high level that has not been reached since March 1982. “Based on what I have read, I think this problem will continue to exist for at least another year. As someone who is interested in buying another vehicle, I’ve read that increased prices due to supply chain issues are likely to last into 2023,” Coon said.

Notwithstanding the economic pressure that has resulted in such exorbitant price increases, deals still seemed to present themselves for those willing to look. “The deals were the same the week of and after Black Friday so I wasn’t too surprised with the deals when I shopped at the mall, but I found a pair of Lululemon leggings that were on sale,” Eisenfeld said. 

We went to the mall at Tyson’s [Corner] to see if they had shoes or other deals, and it was really packed. They had a deal on Jordan [shoes], but they were all sold out. I was surprised that there weren’t many deals.”

— Kyle Jordan

On the other hand, the holiday rush unsurprisingly lent itself to fast stockouts. This resulted in a multitude of struggles for those trying to take advantage of the already scarce discounts available to them. “We went to the mall at Tyson’s [Corner] to see if they had shoes or other deals, and it was really packed. They had a deal on Jordan [shoes], but they were all sold out. I was surprised that there weren’t many deals,” senior Kyle Jordan said. 

The usual Black Friday rush was not facilitated by the ruthless shortages and obstacles facing businesses. However, there still was enjoyment to be had with the return of a more normal Black Friday.