Black Friday Proves We Have Too Much Damn Parking!

At most big box stores, the parking lots occupy far more land than the stores themselves, and those lots suck up additional resources from our towns.

We’re told that Black Friday is the “biggest shopping day of the year”— yet parking lots across the country tell a different story. I set out to explore #BlackFridayParking at commercial shopping centers across Tulsa, OK to see for myself.

It looked a lot like this:

Image Credit: Sarah Kobos

and this:

Image Credit: Sarah Kobos

As I drove around town, the empty parking lots had me doubting Black Friday almost as much as I doubt the fat man in the red suit himself. Further research was needed. I was actually going to have to go shopping on Black Friday. (If you’re like me, the day you realize you can buy your favorite brand of underwear online is the day you celebrate never having to step inside a department store ever again. I really hate shopping.)

I headed to Tulsa Hills, one of our newest and most popular shopping centers, to check out the Black Friday madness. It was early afternoon and Dick’s Sporting Goods was doing a brisk business, so—like Jane Goodall plunging into the Tanzanian jungle—I stepped through the automatic sliding glass doors to study Americans in their native habitat: the aisles of a big box store.

It was definitely crowded. The aisles were full of people browsing for everything from basketballs to badminton sets. Treadmills were being tested. Folks stood in line, arms loaded with yoga mats and sweatpants, waiting for cashiers. This was clearly no ordinary shopping day.

Visits to other stores yielded similar results. So yes, there really is a Black Friday. But if this is truly the busiest shopping day of the year, why aren’t the parking lots full?