I’ve told this story before, but back in 2007, when I was still a rookie reporter at The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, the managing editor needed to send one of us to cover the scene at Wrentham Village Outlets when it opened at midnight after Thanksgiving.
As the youngest person on staff, I drew the short straw. It wasn’t a terrible deal; I only had to spend a few hours at the outlets, and since I was allowed to file my story from home, I could skip going into the newsroom altogether on Friday.
And it seemed like a pretty straightforward assignment to begin with – go to the outlets, take in the crowds, interview a few bargain-crazed shoppers and call it a night. Piece of cake.
Boy, was I wrong. Here’s what happened, as I related the tale – a tad dramatically – the next day:
Mob violence. Designer clothes. Huge crowds.
No, it’s not the latest Hollywood blockbuster. That was the scene at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets early Friday, when thousands of people descended on the plaza for a midnight sale that kicked off the official Christmas shopping season.
For the second year in a row, most of the stores at the outlets opened their doors at 12:01 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. To entice customers, companies offered bargains billed as the season’s best.
Unfortunately, peace on earth and goodwill toward men were not much in evidence at the store that was busiest Friday morning: Coach, the leather-goods company best known for its handbags.