The anticipation, the planning, the wait, the stampede, the tears, the broken limbs and lives lost, then triumph for some and defeat for others. No this isn’t war, it’s Black Friday, the Super Bowl of shopping, the day millions of Americans splurge billions of dollars for that extra 50% off.
It’s ironic that Black Friday comes right after Thanksgiving, the day that we are thankful for what we have, spend time with our families and remember our values. To be fair, most of the people out shopping on Black Friday are ordinary citizens looking to save some money on the things they want, the few crazy ones are doing the same except they are willing to knock that last Xbox out of your hands at gunpoint for a good deal. Black Friday does offer great savings, but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble, many stores have the same sort of deals on random days throughout the year, they just don’t seem as notable because the sales aren’t being held on a day known for cheap shopping. If you’re willing to brave the lines and the hysteria, it’s best to plan your shopping ahead of time so you can find exactly what you want and be in and out; check with stores to see if you can keep what you want on layaway. Also standing outside the store for days ahead of time is sort of silly considering retailers anticipate the influx of shoppers and stock up on popular products, there’s no need to lose a significant amount sleep after that giant Thanksgiving meal. Keep in mind that the ones who are waiting outside the store 5 days in advance in the tent next to you are probably one of the crazy ones, and you’re likely one of those too if you’re wasting five days outside of Best Buy so you can buy an iPad. If you’re not looking for something specific, wait till at least noon to do your shopping, the crazies should have been arrested at that point so you can shop without having to constantly looking over your shoulder.
Sometimes the rush that comes with saving an extra $5 just isn’t worth the crowds and the traffic. Still, Black Friday has some benefits that we don’t normally associate with it. For one thing, the massive amounts of spending are great for the economy, a record breaking $52.4 billion dollars were spent this year on both online and in-store purchases, most of those purchases being electronic goods. They also benefit the terrified cashier on the other side of the counter. On Black Friday, retailers need more employees and many of those employees are paid overtime. There are ways however to get around the madness while still getting most of the benefits of Black Friday. Online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday often have the same sorts of deals Black Friday offers, without the lines. It makes more sense to skip work for one day on Monday than to skip 5 days outside of the mall just to end up trampled and in the hospital.