I wish I had seen the phenomenon of Black Friday when I was younger, because I could have retired long before today by getting a copyright or trademark on the name. Black Friday has evolved and morphed into more than just the first official day of the Christmas shopping season. It is now a phenomenon that is a grandiose celebration of American free enterprise and interstate commerce. That celebration comes at a price. If you are into Black Friday, you are not thinking about sleeping.
Thanksgiving Day used to be the untouchable day of rest, family get-togethers, turkey, dressing, and the related comfort food that we love, along with a Thanksgiving/Christmas kickoff parade and a couple of football games on television. Today, Black Friday is taking on a life of its own by reaching back into Thanksgiving Thursday to get everyone jacked up and into the spirit of Christmas shopping. Some retailers are even open on Thanksgiving Day, which never used to happen. Restaurants are also open on Thanksgiving because they see the shift of consumer shopping (and the profitability) on that same day as well. Christmas shopping has now evolved into a 24-hour extravaganza. If you can’t go to the store, that’s OK. Stay up late or get up early…or don’t bother to sleep at all…just log in and shop online. The retailers are there just for you waiting for your credit card information, and you may even get free shipping, too.
Retailers spend most of the year planning for this shopping season, which can easily make or break their entire year when it comes to profitability. Just as they gear up for this time, they spend a significant amount of advertising dollars getting consumers whipped up about it, especially since we have had a flat economy over the last couple of years. Just when it starts getting cold outside for most of us, they convince many people to get less and less sleep and get up earlier and earlier for deep discounts, whatever they may be. To me, when it gets cold and dark outside, I want to go to bed. When I eat turkey and dressing, I want to rest. Not for the relentless bargain hunters, though. They’ll even pitch tents and sit outside stores while nearly freezing to death even BEFORE Thanksgiving Day. It borders on insanity. In all of these efforts, sleep is irrelevant, and shopping for deals is prevalent. I suppose that we need to feel good about saving money in the midst of our personal torture.
Some stores will be open at 10 pm on Thanksgiving Day, where you can shop just long enough for some stores to open at midnight on Black Friday. Then, you can take a quick food break before heading over to the grocery store in the area, which opens at 3 am. There you can stock up on your gift cards with gas discounts, just in time for the 4 am opening of another store. If you haven’t passed out yet, you can join other retailers when they open at 5 and 6 am. After this, you can become a zombie and trudge through the rest of Friday when the rest of the population converges on mall parking areas and shopping centers (drivers get interesting by that time of the day). Crowds, long lines, and people of varying levels of patience, or a lack thereof. Black Friday is now a replay of the movie of the Night of the Living Dead. You’ll be numb by that time anyway. But remember…it’s a celebration!
Or you can do what I do…remain a traditionalist and roll over in bed. That’s my kind of celebration.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!
Copyright © Melvin Gaines. For more content, please see melvingaines.com and melvingaines.blogspot.com.