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.