SWFL sounds off on Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Southwest Florida feasted on turkey, sides and all the fixings. Now residents have a choice: to shop or not to shop.

Some customers will get to stores early for the holiday deals, while others would rather scale back.

Approximately 99 million people participated in Black Friday in 2016 with $3.05 billion in online sales, according to the Better Business Bureau.

WINK News posted a poll to Twitter asking when people will do their holiday shopping. The majority answered Cyber Monday with 56 percent. 39 percent of viewers answered Black Friday with the 5 percent remaining shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Raymond Evans commented on a WINK News Facebook post and urged fellow Southwest Florida residents to shop small or online during the holiday weekend.

“Wanna make an impact within your community? Boycott Black Friday shopping at ANY brick and mortar retailers that open their doors on Thanksgiving, and shop after the fact with small businesses within your community,” Evans wrote.

MORE: Black Friday remains holiday shoppers’ favorite

Evans, who wrote he was a manager and district manager during the holiday shopping event, explained working on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is stressful for shoppers, employers and employees.

“Retailers have made Thanksgiving meaningless as they tear families apart from spending time together because they want to put profits ahead (of) everything else,” Evans wrote. “It was the one day of the year that I absolutely hated.”

Shopper Randy Stoppenhagen, a viewer who wrote he plans to participate by supporting local businesses and “shopping online at sites with free delivery.”

Lester Byler agreed and commented on our Facebook post.

“I will take advantage of it, by not going anywhere near a store,” Byler wrote.

WINK News asked viewers how they plan to make the most of the Black Friday deals in a Facebook post.

Karlie Alyssa took a different approach and expressed excitement about partaking in the sales on Thanksgiving.

“… Thanksgiving (D)ay stores that are open! Take note. Hopefully (I) get paid in time lol,” Alyssa wrote.

Others shoppers didn’t want to fight the rush for the deals.

“You couldn’t pay me to go out in those crazy crowds,” Catherine Barrett wrote on the WINK News Facebook page.

WINK News posted a second poll to Twitter asking whether stores should be open on Thanksgiving Day — 84 percent of people felt it should stay closed, while 16 percent disagreed.

“I still believe in Black Friday actually being (on) Friday, all the stores now starting on Thanksgiving (have) taken the joy and adventure out of getting up at (2 a.m.) and standing in line at Toy r (U)s for your children,” viewer Sherryanne Fleming wrote. “I will shop online now.”

MORE: Black Friday: Your ultimate holiday shopping guide

Thalitta Morais commented on the WINK News Facebook post and felt opening the stores early took away from spending time with family.

“Every year that goes by the stores are opening earlier and earlier people are loosing the meaning of Thanksgiving and dinner with your love ones,” Morais wrote.

Others, like Val Jones wrote on Facebook he’d rather boycott shopping altogether on Black Friday and celebrate “by staying home. No frenzy time for me.”

Large shopping places like Coconut Point have additional parking and are a free shuttle Friday, according to Sarah Berthold, director of marketing for the mall.

The mall allowed stores to be open on Thanksgiving, but Berthold said it was ultimately each shop’s decision to open early for the holiday.

Miromar Outlets has a list of discounts at various stores shoppers can take advantage of on Black Friday and throughout the holiday weekend:

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