As milder temperatures covered the nation’s capitol this Black Friday there was an air of peacefulness as families shopped for their Christmas treasures. The Christmas music from Washington’s WASH-FM played joyfully from small businesses across the metro region as holiday shoppers overlooked the bad economy to give their families a Christmas after all.
A clear sign of the times was the sight of workers from Teresa’s Garden Center on New York Avenue in DC loading Christmas trees into cars from their bas and their satellite lots. Jordan Petitt from Alexandria has been selling Christmas trees for eight years and the Teresa Garden Center employee was making a sale on Black Friday to a construction worker and his wife. Despite the bad economy the wife said they brought the tree from Petitt because they were impressed with his positive attitude and his outstanding customer service. “He was so kind and patient,” the wife said. “He would have shown us every tree on the lot,” said the husband. As Petit loaded the tree into the family SUV, he smiled knowing it was the start of a good Black Friday.
Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation said that for the past three years Black Friday has been the biggest shopping day of the year. With nine million Americans working part-time jobs as sales associates, cashier’s and customer service workers, it is a win win situation for shoppers and employees alike. Jordan Petit sees the opportunity in giving the customers what they want, “Normally people will walk to the tree they want. We have pines set up on one side and firs set up on the other. They gradually will tend to walk toward which side they prefer and I will walk them through to see what type of they are looking for and I will try to give them the best tree, “ Petit said.
Since the Stock Market crash of 2008 and the beginning of the worldwide recession that has plunged the United States of America into the worst economic nightmare since the Stock Market Crash of 1929, many people have been afraid to shop. But Teresa Garden Center employee Ed, said that he has served customers with Christmas trees and decorations for 15 years and people, regardless of the hard times, still want to celebrate Christmas. “They are still looking for the best price, that is true, but my customers return year after year,” Ed said. It is hard to pass by the Christmas decorations at Teresa’s Garden Center without taking a look.. The beautiful decorations light up the DC night sky as Christmas music plays.
In a survey of local stores and shops your customer service reporter did not encounter any stampedes or scenes of violence. Shoppers were friendly and pleasant. As people loaded TV’s and Stereos, and Christmas trees into their SUV’s many expressed concerns about the economy; however, there was no panic as seen in 2008. Although Walmart and other big businesses had large crowds on Black Friday, the review of small business Saturday was not as good. For fear of losing their jobs, many employees were afraid to go on record. An employee of a local convenience store said that small shops like his were being killed by the big stores. “People don’t have jobs, so they want to save money so they all shop at Walmart.” When this writer pointed out there is no Walmart in DC, the employee said that six were coming. The figure given by the employee has not been verified by Walmart.
In a tour of shopping centers and malls in the DC area there were no major incidents of violence like the 2,000 people who stampeded at the Walmart on Long Island, New York. It was an out of control Black Friday crowd on November 28, 2008, that caused the death of 6’5, 271 pound, Jdimytai Damour of Jamaica Queens, New York. November 28, 2011, marks the third anniversary of Damour’s tragic death at the Walmart store across from the Green Acres Mall building on Black Friday. Although security guards reported a peaceful opening at the Walmart near DC, the memory of the stampede in 2008 should be a constant reminder to holiday shoppers to always follow Dr. Martin Luther King’s admonishment, “to conduct ourselves with dignity and discipline.” There is no TV or Stereo worth a human life. Shop in Peace.
Teresa’s Garden Center is located on New York Avenue and Montana Avenue, NE.