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Black Friday is ruining Thanksgiving

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Thread for Black Friday discussion. No need to read all this if you just want to jump in off the thread name alone. All good.


    For those who aren't aware, Black Friday is largely regarded as the day that kicks off the holiday shopping season (mainly Christmas). In it's infancy though, the term and day signified the trend of companies going from the red to the black in profit. January through November meant selling to break even (or even at a loss), while the last little more than two months of the year's earnings pushing successful companies into profit. The Friday following Thanksgiving Day was statistically shown to be that consistent turning point. (The term 'Black Friday' was actually started in Philly in the early '60's, marking the high rise in pedestrian traffic that would occur the day after Thanksgiving. It was later co-opted into the above.)

    Then, companies such as Walmart came on the scene and showed the market how to be in the black from January 1st. No longer did the old model have to hold. But, this didn't stop the statistic from being true. The day directly after Thanksgiving was still holding up somehow, year after year as the agreed upon day to start the holiday shopping season. And to retailers this meant that traffic and revenue would be on the rise, no matter how well they had done in all the months prior. This inevitably lead to major retailers capitalizing on the trend by offering significant savings on Black Friday. Once savings were the norm on Black Friday, retailers decided to open their doors earlier and earlier, with increasingly better deals to compete. Since 2005, Black Friday has been retailer's single highest grossing sales day of the year.

    And, now we get to 2011. That's when a few big retailers decided to push the envelope and start the Black Friday saving discounts before the actual Friday. It has since become the norm. That's right, door buster deals began being offered on Thanksgiving evening, as early as 8pm. Black Friday had been completely transformed at this point. It started (as most of us have come to know it) as a big weekend sale, with the good stuff going early Friday morning.

    Now though, the term Black Friday means more than just a day of good deals. It's a holiday and event unto itself. And, like most popular holidays or events, the festivities start earlier and earlier each and every year. People camp outside Best Buys in tents for days or even weeks in advance to be the first in line for savings, similar to a really long tail-gating party. Shoppers see it as some kind of thrift sport. And people come out in droves to compete. Now, when Thanksgiving rolls around, many think of the savings they could fight for at their local big retail chain over the real purpose of the holiday, to spend time in thanks with loved ones.

    That all said, I haven't even mentioned the nature of the beast; what it means to actually participate in the event of Black Friday. And, believe me, it's an event. Just Youtube 'Black Friday Diasters'. Property damage, riots, fights, stampedes, bloodshed, even death.. all have happened in the last few years during the early AM frenzies of Black Friday. Hoards of people show up to burst through the doors, many times with lines stretching around very large buildings (like Wal-Mart or Target). Once in, the goal is to run (never walk) and be the first to grab the limited sale item before they run out. It's not unlike the Oklahoma land rush, if you think about it (remember Far & Away :)...).

    A large crowd of amped up people, many cold and restless having waited outside for countless hours, bursting through narrow door wells with sport on their minds is not a safe situation. And, many employees have felt fear for their safety, with good reason. Prime example why happened in 2008: A Wal-Mart worker in Long Island, N.Y., died after being trampled by customers who broke through the doors early Friday, and other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man. At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals.

    So, Black Friday started (arguably) as a ceremonial way to kickoff the holiday season with some good savings. People gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving Thursday with their families. And, then the more thrifty among us would wake up early the following morning and grab some deals. No harm, no fowl. But now, Thanksgiving is no longer a separate thing; it's no longer the only thing going on in this country on the 4th Thursday of every November. Black Friday is no longer complimentary, its competition. And it's ruining Thanksgiving. Retail workers have to leave their families early on Thanksgiving afternoon to show up and work their Black Friday shifts that now start on Thursday afternoon. This is leading to backlash and outright strikes. Couple that with the countless causality rates per year and the narrative that are nation exemplifies its caricature of a mindless, zombie consumer state one sad weekend of the year and its clear that Black Friday is far from being just out of hand. It is now officially ruining Thanksgiving.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Brown Thursday is the new name for the day before Black Friday.

    Some are actually calling it that.

    Read Schneider's thread which touches on this same subject.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I try to never go out shopping on weekends or holidays. Too many weekend warrior shoppers who not only can't drive they don't know what they want to buy! One of the perks of being retired is the ability to go shopping first thing in the morning on weekdays ;)
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    It shows on how you can manipulated people; jack up the price and then give 50% discount so you still get the original price in most cases.
    Why this day is right behind Thanksgiving is of course ridiculous. As a matter of fact Thanksgiving and X-Mas have become commercial holidays.
    The "turkey" is a must, the X-Mas tree a must, the trimmings a must, the music a must, the church decorations a must, inviting all your relatives a must, etc. If you do not want to participate than you are the oddball; I guess I'll have a bowl with tomato soup and fried racoon. With X-Mas I''ll decorate the house with fallen leaves. Happy holidays; do not get trampled to death at Best Buy; get help to carry your discounted huge 80" TV, otherwise you may come home with 2 40" TV's, Have Fun!!
  • Libertarian
    garden city, NY
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    Freidman's post is much appreciated and should have been firont and center of any newspaper that still deems itself a "newspaper". A little history is often the best way of calming the great unwashed, if they still know how to read.

    I thought I was the only grump, much offended by the plastic perversion of holidays long accepted as really good interdenominational celebrations to be enjoyed by all who live in the United States.

    I join him and his buddies in a toast to their perspicacity and refusal to participate in hyped up peddler come-ons.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    During my younger years when the kids were little and my wife and I were less plump and I had more hair, there was an opportunity to stand in line waiting for the store to open and get the first Atari game set. The pushing and shoving was a little severe and shocking to my experience in shopping. My wife instructed me to go having to get up very early in the morning and stand in line for the doors to open. The things parents will do to make their kids and the family happy. When the doors opened, it was maddening, however I made it standing about five rows of people back behind a counter. The sales people came out and started throwing the boxes of new Atari's out among the masses. Since I was much taller than those standing around me, I just raised my arms and an Atari box came in my direction. I grabbed it and locked hands on it. Surprised, the women around me started attacking. I was kicked, and elbowed in the sides. Although not hurt, I was shocked. Coming home with the Atari, I informed my wife, "Never again will I do this task." and of course she laughed. I felt it no laughing matter. Now I watch the media news as the annual event takes place in out stores. I see fights, people being thrown to the floor/ground, gun fire, police activity and people being sent to the hospital. With free carry of guns, what's next, "Stand-your-ground", for a Christmas Present? It's crazy. I'll stay home and drink my brew. "God is great, Beer is good and People are crazy."