Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day unlike any other. It is the one day of the year when everyone in the United States is expected to go shopping. And many people do.
Stores feed the frenzy with aggressive deals, encouraging people to get out early and line-up for the biggest savings. The media, faced with a slow news day, covers all the action in-depth.
I’ve always enjoyed watching the frenzy, visiting stores Friday morning just to see people buying and spending in a joyous, if sometimes stressful, scene. It is a wonderful marketing moment.
This year, though, it seems to be fading, at least a bit. Partly this is because retailers are now offering deals earlier and earlier in a bid to compete with on-line merchants and each other. When many stores open on Thanksgiving, there is no need to race out Friday morning to get going.
Partly, though, I think people are a little tired of it all, tired of spending, tired of the expectation that it is important to buy lots of stuff. The fact that many people in the United States are struggling financially only accentuates this. It is hard to get all jazzed up about buying things when you are struggling to pay the bills.
Friday will still be a lively day in the stores and I’ll be there once again watching the action. But Black Friday may not measure up to its usual peak.
Perhaps this will encourage people to stay home and spend a little more time with family and friends and that would be all for the best.
Nice post professor Calkins. As someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas I always find the shopping frenzy seems quite stressful for people both emotionally and financially. Employing a lot of working class folks in a factory setting I see the stress weighs more heavily further down the earnings spectrum – many of whom save all year for holiday gifts. I want the economy to rebound but like you said I hope the focus can change towards spending time with family & friends.
I love going shopping on Black Friday. I never buy anything too much, I just like to look and get into the spirit. I am not happy about changing the tradition and opening stores on Thanksgiving. I guess nothing is sacred when in a financial crises.