Macy’s was a madhouse last night. With food still hot on the table and some families just digging into their Thanksgiving desserts, for the first time ever, the mega-retailer opened its doors at 6PM and the crowds obliged. Its army of workers had to arrive much earlier than that to prepare for the rush, and their opinions on the store’s new hours couldn’t be more diverse.
I got to the Herald Square flagship around 11PM and then place was packed. According to reports, about 15,000 people took advantage of the pre-Black Friday sale. Judging by the amount of people in there, that seems about right.
From floor to floor, shoppers could be seen dragging bags around, waiting on lines, and trying on apparel. It looked as if small tornadoes had ripped through the aisles, leaving clothes and shoes scattered on the floor like debris.
The place was busy, and all over, the stores workers were buzzing around. It’s times like this when you notice how monolithic a force the retailer needs to make the place run. In addition to the security guards and greeters and sales associates, there are dozens of maintenance workers busy emptying garbage cans. Even the McDonald’s inside Macy’s was packed as lines formed.
There were lots of tourists. The majority of people I spoke to were travelers, some coming from places like the UK, Uzbekistan, France, Egypt, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana. It looked like the United Nations in there, but with each delegation carrying shopping bags instead of briefcases.
Locals shoppers, tourists, and workers alike had varied opinions on the spectacle they participated in:
“I’m sad, I want to be home with my family,” said one female security guard posted up in the cosmetics section.
“I’m visiting New York for nine days,” said Ahmed, 30, from Egypt. “This is the best day. This Michael Kors is the famous bag. They usually sell it at 300 U-S-Ds, today I was able to take it at $125.”
“It’s my first day,” said Dominick, 20, who just started in sales. He was okay with the short time he spent with his family. “I left them pretty early but I had a chance to eat,” he laughed.
“It’s pretty awesome, man,” said sales associate Christopher Lacey, the only Macy’s employee I spoke with who gave me his full mane. “I had a wonderful day. I did spend time with my family first, and then I came to work to spend time with my new family.”
Ron, 54, from Nebraska, looked bored as he leaned against a wall waiting for his wife and daughter. He wasn’t thrilled about being in the store, saying, “I like to have family on Thanksgiving. It should be family time and this kind of spoils it.”
When I asked Brooklyn shopper Laila, 27, if she felt bad for the workers who have to be here, she said “Yes,” adding, “Look at the mess these people are making.”
Two other employees in sales put it in practical terms: “I wish I was with my family, but then again I need the money to spend on them,” said Natasha, 19.
Patricia, 27, said, “I prefer to be with my family, but you know, money’s money.”
(Photos/Video: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)