Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the beginning of a holiday season unlike any other for the D.C. area.
“We just decided, because of COVID this year, my daughters really didn’t work this year, that we were just going to get stuff for the grandkids,” said Fatima Hardison, of Northeast D.C., shopping for a bicycle for her grandson.
“He’s 5; it’s a Huffy bike. Hopefully, he’ll enjoy it,” Hardison said, dashing into the Walmart Supercenter near the Fort Totten Metro station in Northeast D.C.
Local customers said they were shopping for toys, small kitchen appliances and other items on their holiday lists at the store, which is one of three Walmarts in D.C.
While visiting the store in person, some shoppers said they also planned to shop online.
“My wife does more online shopping than I do, on Amazon,” said Edward Washington, of Prince George’s County in Maryland. He was looking for fitness equipment at the Walmart.
“I’m going here looking for a universal weight set, so I can put it in my garage and start the new year off right, before the new year comes in,” he said.
Some shoppers said they would shop online after not finding what they wanted at the brick-and-mortar.
“There was some items that I was supposed to get, but apparently, I might have to go online to get it,” said Jonathan Banks-El, of Southeast D.C., listing three items he couldn’t find inside.
“A blender … a dual coffee pot that heats up water and your coffee at the same time, and a four-way toaster … that’s all I wanted … I’m going to go home, get online, take my time,” Banks-El said.
As COVID-19 cases climb in the D.C. area and hospitalizations are on the rise, shoppers said they’re hoping for better days ahead.
“People out of work, people getting sick, people dying — it’s sad. Hopefully, with this new administration, hopefully with this new vaccine, we can get back to normal,” Hardison said.
“Hope is the beacon of light. Jesse Jackson said it even better: ‘Keep hope alive’ — and that’s mainly what I’m trying to do,” Banks-El added.