Sunday, November 25, 2012
The Infamous Black Friday Shopping Day
What in the world has happened to our sacred Black Friday shopping day? To the tradition that signaled the beginning of the Christmas shopping season?
Thanksgiving has come and gone and so has the infamous Black Friday shopping day—the day THEY say marks the moment retailers have covered their expenses for the balance of the year and are operating totally in the black with everything being profit. Or at least that's what it originally meant…in days gone by.
Since U.S. Thanksgiving is always on Thursday, for the majority of people that equates to a Thursday through Sunday four day holiday weekend. In the past, the long holiday weekend has marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, commencing Friday morning. It also signaled the time to drag out the holiday decorations, gift wrapping paper, and turn our thinking to the jolly ho-ho-ho mode.
But it seems that everything is different now. Somewhere along the line Black Friday has become an almost bizarre ritual with all the trappings of an event type of display.
Rather than stores opening a couple of hours earlier than normal as it used to be, each year for the last few years they are opening earlier and earlier. People waiting in line outside for hours in the cold so they could be the first ones to rush inside the moment the doors were unlocked at 3:00AM. Television news crews would do live reports from some of the larger stores showing hundreds of people with their lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and some even had tents. Earlier in the evening it's a party type of atmosphere. By the time the store unlocks the doors, it's a lot of very cold and tired people all trying to crowd through the door at the same time. I suspect they want inside from the cold as much as to make that race to their desired bargain.
Where I live, the temperatures were much warmer than this time last year. However, those warmer temperatures were accompanied by strong winds. If someone didn't have their lawn chair anchored down, it would blow away. Several stores opened their doors at midnight this year. Then there were a couple of them that opened Thanksgiving morning and never closed.
Black Friday sales have now evolved to include shopping on the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday. And you know how that goes…once it happens, it becomes tradition.
I think the biggest boost to the concept of Black Friday bargains has been the internet. Shopping via the internet rather than actually getting in the car and driving to the mall has been growing by leaps and bounds. And so many internet shopping sites offer the same Black Friday sale prices as their brick and mortar stores and as their competitors including additional incentives such as free shipping or being able to pick up your order at the local store. No standing in line for hours in the cold in the middle of the night. Now those bargains are only a mouse click away. You get a good night's sleep and Black Friday is available for pursuits other than elbowing your way through throngs of holiday shoppers. Personally, I find that a preferable alternative. :)
So, who braved the weather, lost sleep, and jostled your way through crowds to snag those bargain prices this year? And how many of you have now completed your holiday shopping?
And speaking of holiday shopping…how many of you noticed how early all things Christmas were out and on display this year? I encountered Christmas items prominently displayed and Christmas promotions before Halloween. Some as early as in September. And I'm already hearing Christmas music on the radio.
How many of you preferred to stay home, click the mouse, and enjoy all those Thanksgiving dinner leftovers while watching football?
And now I have a confession. I did venture out to a store on Black Friday morning about 7:30AM, but not for holiday shopping. I had to go to the office supply store because I was out of printer ink. There were a few people there, but not many. However, 4 doors north of the office supply store Kohl's had a very full parking lot.