Holiday shoppers caught in ‘Black Friday' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Holiday shoppers caught in ‘Black Friday'

Ben Sumaylo Ben Sumaylo
Brad Hartog Brad Hartog
Sean Minaker Sean Minaker
Linda Minaker Linda Minaker
Brandi Ackerman Brandi Ackerman

By Leland Kim - bio | email

ALA MOANA (KHNL) -  Friday night's blackout also caused our malls to shut down early, a blow to retailers looking to draw in shoppers with after Christmas deals.  At Ala Moana Shopping Center, there was confusion and frustration as shoppers tried to make their way out in the dark.

Shoppers at Ala Moana Shopping center make their way out, caught off guard by the sudden blackout.  They have no idea what's going on.

"How did you feel?" asked KHNL.

"Scared," said Ben Sumaylo, who was shopping at the mall.  "I thought something was wrong, or something was bombing or something."

It happened at about a quarter to seven Friday during peak after Christmas shopping hours. Shoppers say the lights flickered a few times before going black.

"Then inside the mall, people were shutting doors, telling people to get out," said Brad Hartog, who was trying to leave the parking structure.

Every store in the mall was forced to close early.

"Basically we just shut the door to prevent anyone from entering or stealing," said an employee of a retailer that sells sunglasses.

And several thousand shoppers made their way to their cars in the dark.

"Nobody was freaking out," said Sean Minaker, an Ala Moana shopper who is visiting from British Columbia, Canada.  "It was pretty casual."

"There was no feeling of tension or things out of control," added his wife Linda.  "Everybody seems to be pretty calm."

But once they got to their cars, the waiting began.

Thousands of cars tried to empty out to Ala Moana Boulevard, but there wasn't much movement.

A security guard marks a path, but still, it took some almost an hour to leave the parking structure.

"It's very frustrating because I just came from the east coast and there was a power outage that lasted for some families, for seven days," said Brandi Ackerman, who is visiting from New Hampshire. "So I'm here on vacation, visiting my family and now we have this here."

As shoppers finally head out, they face even more dark uncertainty.

"It's nuts; it's crazy," said Ackerman. "I just hope that people drive safe and take care of themselves. I feel bad for those who have children.  It's a holiday and they want to spend it with their families at home, and now they can't see anything."

Ala Moana Shopping Center as well as other malls on the island reopened Saturday morning.  Retailers don't have an estimate yet of how much they lost because of the blackout.

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