On Friday morning, Dolphin Mall looked as calm as if it were an ordinary day.
With plenty of parking spots available, the outlet mall seemed oddly quiet for a Black Friday. No crowded hallways, no shoppers carrying massive bags of purchases. There wasn't even a line at Starbucks, which usually boasts a long, squiggly line of thirsty shoppers.
Outside Victoria's Secret, Nathalie Polo, 17, put her bags down as her father, Edgar Polo, 55, asked her about her Victoria's Secret purchases. Polo was accompanying his teenage daughters, Nathalie and Nicole, 15, to do their annual holiday shopping.
“I never get anything for myself,’’ he said. “I only come for them.’’
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Nathalie carried two bags from the shoe store, Call It Spring, and a few more from Victoria's Secret, but said she was disappointed to see that only big brand stores had discounts, and small retailers like Love Culture didn't have any.
“Call it Spring had all shoes on sale and with an additional 50 percent off,’’ she said.
Nathalie, who was buying Christmas presents and other little “regalitos’’ (little gifts) to stock up on in case of impromptu birthdays, said the mall seemed too empty compared to other years.
“There is no one compared to last year,’’ she said, speaking in Spanish. “Last year you couldn't even breathe.’’
Meanwhile, at about 5:30 a.m. Friday, about a dozen people craving caffeine lined up at Starbucks, the second longest line at the Aventura Mall. On the other end of the mall, 25 people waited outside
Champs for a chance at some new Jordan sneakers.
Inside the Disney Store, a shocker: No kids. A few parents snaked through aisles looking for deals. Across the hallway, Sbarro put a full array of pizza on display as a two-person crew sliced and dished to hungry mall workers.
As the mall officially opened at 6 a.m., plenty of parking spaces beckoned. Store clerks, with no customers to help, kept busy folding merchandise thrown out of place from the night before.