Karen Madden, of Moon, arrived at the Mall at Robinson about 6:30 a.m. with her mother and sister, expecting the deals and crowds they’ve become accustomed to in the past five years they have gone Black Friday shopping as a family.
But while the deals were there — retail outlets such as RUUM, Gap and Express were discounting all of their merchandise by 40 or 50 percent — the shoppers weren’t.
"I’ve been here on a Friday night when it’s more crowded,” she said. “I feel like I could have slept in.”
Waiting for her sister to finish shopping, Ms. Madden was even contemplating buying a coffee at Starbucks — a purchase that was unthinkable in previous years, when the line stretched dozens deep.
She and her mother speculated that perhaps the staggered store opening times meant that crowds were more spread out, or that people preferred the convenience of online shopping or were still feeling the effects of the economic downturn.
They had consciously decided not to shop yesterday, even though many more stores were open than in years past.
“We refuse to go on Thanksgiving,” said Ms. Madden. “You have to draw the line somewhere.”
Dan Wareham, of Robinson, also noticed reduced crowds. As is customary, he and his wife arrived at the Mall at Robinson about 4:30 a.m. in their annual Black Friday shopping mission to spoil their granddaughters.
“I got here at the same time last year and I couldn’t find a place to park — this year, I’m right outside the door,” he said. “I was shocked. The stores are empty.”
Unlike many other shopping establishments, the Mall at Robinson did not open on Thanksgiving, waiting instead until midnight. From midnight to 3 a.m., the mall offered incentives such as free massages and courtesy pedi-cabs delivering packages to customers’ cars.
— Anya Sostek / Post-Gazette staff