I Visited One Of Canada's Busiest Malls On Black Friday & It Wasn't What I Expected At All
It was all very Canadian.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Black Friday in Canada is in full swing at the moment and that means it's a chance to nab the best deals of the year.
However, if you're thinking about actually venturing to a store, you might be hesitant, given the number of videos of Black Friday crowds in the United States.
Well, to see what the crowds are like in the middle of a Canadian Black Friday, I went to Toronto's Eaton Centre.
While it didn't have the rush of places like Yorkdale Mall, it was still an interesting Black Friday experience.
To be honest, I was expecting lines snaking around the entire mall, deal-hungry customers fighting over their favourite products and massive, pulsing crowds of being looking to buy the latest toys.
But what I got was actually a bit different than that.
Here are my biggest takeaways, after spending more than three hours in one of Canada's busiest malls, on its busiest day.
It wasn't super busy...yet
The Eaton Centre the morning of November 25.
When I heard they were opening the shopping mall at 7 a.m., I was prepared to be hit with a massive crowd of shoppers, clamouring for deals and coveted items.
What I saw was actually a pretty normal and chilled-out day at the mall — likely a product of my getting there at 9 a.m.
It really goes to show that part of the crowds we see in the U.S. as stores open is a product of most Americans getting the Friday off as part of their Thanksgiving.
Of course, that also means the crowds in Canadian malls may also pick up a bit in the evenings, as people get done with work.
A lot of the sales are the same in person and online
The Roots at the Eaton Centre.
If you're looking for an excuse to skip going out on Black Friday, this is it.
One thing I noticed at a lot of stores was that their in-store specials and sales matched the online specials and sales. At least, this was the case at Eddie Bauer, Aritzia, Indigo, Sephora, Kate Spade and Roots.
Of course, going in person gives you the added benefit of trying on a certain product before actually purchasing it, and might save you shipping charges.
But if you don't care about these things, you can always stay home and get the same or similar deals by shopping online.
The vibes were very Canadian
A polite line in front of Pandora.
I'm not typically one to lean into Canadian stereotypes, but my experience at the mall really did reinforce the idea that Canadians are chill and polite.
People casually walked around, gave each other lots of room, and the lines, which were few and far between, were short and cordial.
Some stores were still really busy
The Eaton Centre Sephora.
While the vibes were more chilled out than I expected, there were still some stores that were incredibly busy already, even at 11:30 a.m. on a weekday.
The two busiest stores I saw were the Apple Store and Sephora. Both had loads of people scrambling about and looking at products, and that's with the Apple Store not advertising any major sales for the day!
As a side note: For the first time ever, I went into an Apple Store and the lights were just too bright in there! Apple, if you're reading this, turn down the Eaton Centre store lights by like 20%.
No one was using the pay phones
A line of pay phones.
I found a line of pay phones and no one was using them.
Kind of sad in a way! I wonder if pay phones in America are getting heavy usage on Black Friday?
Hot Topic still exists
Tristan in front of Hot Topic.
As someone who doesn't frequent malls much, I was surprised to see that they still have a Hot Topic! It's a keen reminder that not everything is consumed by modern mass culture, which is nice.
I know 13-year-old me would be happy to see this.
You might get denied if you want to see Santa
Where Santa is and where I wasn't allowed to go.
While wandering around, I was stopped by a security guard on one of the upper levels who asked me where I was going.
He then told me I couldn't go in a certain direction and when I asked why, he said that's where Santa is!
My Kris Kringle privileges were denied!
Granted, I probably just had to pay or make an appointment.
Whether you're thinking about braving the Black Friday sales in-store or you're more of a Cyber Monday type, hopefully, this article gives you some insight into what to expect in Canada on Black Friday morning.