Black Friday is a phenomenon that appears to have naturally occurred on its own due to the proximity of Thanksgiving to Christmas, and the fact that most people have the day off. This makes this day perfect for Christmas shopping. It first became quite apparent in the 60’s in Philadelphia, as police officers started referring to the days after Thanksgiving as Black Friday and Black Saturday due to the increase in overall traffic and car accidents. There are a few claims to its origin though. Another more believable and related one is the fact that retailers usually operate at a loss from January to November (in the red). On Black Friday, they become profitable (in the black) due to the sheer number of shoppers. Moreover, the term was made popular through PR and media, and now it appears to have taken on a life of its own.
Offline campaigns become increasingly outrageous with stores opening as early as midnight and slashing prices beyond profitable means to entice customers. Moreover, shoppers have become increasingly violent as trampling and violent acts are not uncommon, especially in recent years.
The online world has also joined the ranks of Black Friday as it becomes more appealing for shoppers to skip the insanity of black Friday and stay home and browse online instead. While sales are usually worthwhile in electronics and toys, it has now spread to everything from home furnishings to apparel. Some online sites have gone to lengths to even opt-out completely from the madness that is black Friday, which is a commendable choice.
Whether you opt in or out as a shopper or retailer, in the end, its best to keep this day light and happy. If you choose to go out into the throngs or go after that specific sales item, be prepared for what comes along with it: long line ups, huge crowds, and potential disappointment of not getting what you want. Of course, you could always stay home and enjoy the comfort of online sales.
Tell us, will you be participating in Black Friday? What item are you looking to get on sale?