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Rise & Shine! My Early Morning Black Friday Experience

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

We’ve all had a crazy and spontaneous idea that’s turned into a tradition, right? My senior year of high school (the first holiday season with my driver’s license), my best friend and I had the idea of waking up before the sun and going to the busiest mall in the area to do Black Friday shopping. While we absolutely hated waking up at 5:30 a.m. on our one day off from school, it was nice being able to get great deals on gifts for both ourselves and everyone else; what was even better was the fact that we had finished our holiday shopping by 9:30 in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving. It was then that our Black Friday tradition was born, and we’ve only elevated our experiences since. This year was definitely my best year yet!


While the Black Friday wake-up call is not for the weak, it does have its perks. There was nobody on the roads both going to get my friend and getting to the mall, which is great for someone like me who hates traffic. We also had no wait at our local Starbucks, meaning we had caffeine in our system much sooner to wake us up! The best part by far, however, is that there was barely anyone parked in the parking garage, meaning we could park right by the mall’s entrance. 

The drive to the local mall is short, but we made the most of it. I put on Christmas music to get in the holiday mood, and my friend and I created a list of stores we wanted to visit and made our decision as to where to start. 

Once we arrived, we took a minute to prepare ourselves for what we might encounter during our experience. Soon enough we were out of the car and in the mall, and somehow it was only 6:31 a.m.


The first store we visited was Urban Outfitters, which happened to be right at the entrance. Usually, the gates to the stores are down until 7:00 a.m. sharp, but not at Urban. We lingered around for a minute and debated whether or not we were able to go in until an employee told us they had just opened a few minutes earlier and we could start shopping. While this was great news, we weren’t really prepared since we thought we had plenty of time to make a list in our heads. After a quick and thorough scan of the store, I was lucky enough to be the first customer of the day and took part in the sale

By the time we had both finished, it was still too early for the other stores to open, so we decided to get in line for Abercrombie & Fitch. The store opened soon after, and we were two of the first people inside. It was early enough that I could try on the few things I wanted to buy without waiting for a dressing room or worrying about the line to check out. Here’s where I got smart with the sale this year! I had two dresses from the sale section in my shopping cart online, so I scanned the barcodes of the other items I was purchasing and bought everything online. While I won’t actually get these clothes for a while, I was able to get free shipping and get an extra 15% off on all of my items on top of the Black Friday deals, which in girl math means I saved a ton of money!

We walked around the mall for quite a while, stopping into every store on our list but not buying anything from most of them. This was usually the case if the deal wasn’t that good or the line was way too long, something both of us hate. 


As our bank accounts got lower and the adrenaline of the morning wore off, we decided to leave the mall around 9:45 a.m., feeling satisfied with our purchases. We headed to breakfast as a way to end our excursion and treat ourselves to one final expense. Sitting in a local diner, we discussed our purchases for ourselves, the gifts we had to buy online with deals later in the day, and how much we need to stop spending money. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty successful morning!

While I didn’t buy as much as I would have liked to this year, I really budgeted and girl math-ed my way through my shopping. It was totally worth going through almost my whole paycheck, and I’ll definitely be doing the same thing again next year!

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Priya Shah

U Mass Amherst '26

Priya Shah is junior at UMass Amherst, majoring in Legal Studies and Psychology. She is excited to be writing for Her Campus this semester! She loves hockey, fashion, and music.