These ladies carry a 43’’ smart TV along Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Carisa Lee

Even with the challenges brought on by COVID-19 this year, many stores are still partaking in Black Friday sales, but are encouraging their customers to participate online.

“We try to market a lot of the products online, asking our customers to visit our websites and look at the products instead of coming in in person so it helps them maintaining a distance there,” Director of Parts World Limited Aleem Edoo said.

Edoo said the company also started its sale three days early, on the 25th, to ensure those coming in store would not crowd outlets.

Unicomer took its sale during the pandemic a step further by only offering discounts to online purchases. Public Relations Officer for the group Shahad Ali said they made this decision earlier in the year because of COVID-19, and also extended the sale from one day to a month.

Lisa Siu Chong, Chief Operation Officer of Excellent Stores also wanted consumers to occupy the company’s online platform, especially those uncomfortable with into the store.

“We do delivery, you know to your house, or you can come and collect it at the store within a few days after the sale when things die down,” Siu Chong said.

For those who would like to visit stores for the Black Friday sales, the companies said COVID-19 protocols would be in place.

“All our branches have sanitizing units; we have mandated all the staff to be masked and at point of entry we make sure that all customers who enter the store must be masked,” Edoo explained.

He said clerks will be on the ground to ensure customers in store social distance.

Siu Chong said the annual 10/10 sale in October was their biggest for the year so they are prepared for the Black Friday sales started today.

“We have extra security. Each store would have a ratio of number of guests allowed in each store at any one particular time depending on the size,” she said.

No all of the business representatives Guardian Media spoke with admitted that this year has been financially difficult for their establishments but they continued with the sale because they saw it as an opportunity to assist their consumers.

“This is a good opportunity to try to get something where you can actually afford given that people are struggling everywhere,” she said.

“We’re looking at it as we would be able to add value for people who are already going through this difficult time,” Siu Chong continued.

Edoo shared the same sentiment and while the year has been a difficult one, they collaborated with partners to ensure the sale took place for their loyal patrons.

So, we asked you, would you partake in Black Friday sales this year? There were varying views.

Ronald Ramnarine said, “Nope conservative mind for these uncertain times… only needs not wants.”

But Nelly King said, “if it makes financial sense…yes.” Chelsea Baptiste wanted to but couldn’t afford to.