SBox Soapbox: Should Black Friday Exist?

As Thanksgiving passes it makes way to a holiday season much bigger, grander, and merrier. The final holidays of every year are quickly approaching: Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. No matter which one you celebrate, no one can deny the scale of which these winter holidays wield. And the road to those wonderful holidays starts with a day known as Black Friday.

Black Friday means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It usually depends on whether you’re the business or the consumer. The avid shopper or the early bird shopper. The one who boycotts the event or the one that participates. A more universal definition would be that Black Friday is the most important shopping day of the year. At no other time of the year will you find prices this low. You need to buy presents, and the retailer wants your dollar.

Black Friday is usually the subject of a lot of controversy. Consumerism shows its true colors this weekend whether you like it or not. Every year a wave of desperate, caffeine-induced, sleep-deprived, short-tempered, and often smelly shoppers charge in full force into the nearest store to reap the greatest deals. You hear the horror stories every year. One year an employee gets trampled just to open the doors, the next an old lady sprays everyone with pepper spray for an Xbox.

With all of the infamy and hype built around this time of year I started to wonder why Black Friday is a thing. What I mean more so is whether Black Friday should exist.

First thing to discuss is why Black Friday as a scheduled event is held. The main purpose as many of us know is, while there isn’t that much literal gain from every item, it drives up sales numbers to an incredible rate. The trick is that as you buy more and more things the retailer profit gets greater and greater. Basically, it exists for the investors and disguised as a “first shopping day of the holiday season”. As we all know, companies make this happen by offering the most incredible deals of the year.

However, the reason I am beginning to question to question the importance of this day is because of the numerous days surrounding it. Allow me to explain.

While Black Friday has never seized to be a thing, the trend as if late is to expand this single day as much as possible. The result is “Black Friday weekend”, where the deals leak into the days following Friday. Plus, there’s the now popular Cyber Mondays, where the holiday sales can continue from the comfort of your web-enabled home. Not to mention the fact that online retailers still celebrate Black Friday and brick-and-motor retailers celebrate Cyber Monday. Additionally, Black Friday has been starting earlier and earlier each year; so much so that we now start Black Friday Thanksgiving Day at 6 PM. That’s right, Black Friday now starts on Thursday afternoon.

Do you see what I’m saying here? I think Black Friday has lost whatever meaning it was aiming for. With all of these things considered, I as the consumer that these stores are trying to entice have no drive to go to the store on Friday. Why would I anymore? With all of these options, I can walk in the store any day I feel like it and still get a good deal.

The only thing differentiating Friday from its surrounding days is a slightly better deal and the slightly increased chance of substantial supply of what I’m shopping for. Oh wait! There is still that incredibly high probability of injury to look forward to!

Even if Black Friday is supposed to be about the experience of it all (camping out in front of a Walmart in the cold while you join a thousand others dart into the store and all), that’s starting to become undermined as well. Yesterday was one of the most silent Black Fridays in history. All that rustle and bustle that is supposed to represent the “spirit” of it all is now being reserved for Thanksgiving night. Even those numbers aren’t much to sneeze at when those who had actual family and friend plans are less likely to walk in until the weekend anyway.

Now I’m not trying to bash on this shopping season by any means. I know for an implicit fact how many people value Black Friday. A good deal is a good deal after all. I personally never tried it, but to each their very own. All I’m trying to say is that Black Friday is a concept that is losing its meaning.

This year sparked the discussion of stores being open on Thanksgiving. It’s an interesting topic to discuss, especially now that “Gray Thursday” is slowly becoming the standard. Really quick, I think that employees reserve the right to take their holiday off from work. No one should be forced to work on a national holiday.

But relating to the matter at hand, I will guarantee that, with current trends, within 5 years stores will be open all day Thanksgiving. However, when that happens, Black Friday as we know it will officially be dead.

If yesterday is an indicator of anything, Black Friday will lose relevance in future years. Therefore, I would like to illustrate a compromise.

If the trend really is to expand the shopping day as far as it can possibly and practically get, let’s expand it another way. We already have nearly 5 days of the sale (Thursday-Monday), so why not make it a full week. If you make a “Black Week” instead of a Black “FriDAY” you could still have your increased sales season without straining so hard to make it earlier and earlier, painstakingly turning Thanksgiving into Black Thursday. So start Friday at midnight and make the deals last till the Thursday afterward.

As a customer, a week of sales sounds a lot better than a single day or even a weekend. Besides, the term “Black Friday” tends to scare people off. No one avoids Black Friday for no reason. Make no mistake about it: Everyone wants to take part in these deals. The only thing stopping them is the negative connotation with the whole notion. People will be much more drawn to shopping this time of year is you give them an opportunity they’re comfortable with.

Consider this. Black Friday is slowly going away anyway. Mark my words. Predestined days for savings won’t matter when we’re shopping on Thursday anyway. Plus, Americans are already searching for alternative ways to take advantage of the sales without stampeding into a nearby store. That’s what Cyber Monday is all about. It only makes business sense to embrace a full week of the sale.

And why wrestle with protesters disturbing the holiday rush because you decided to open on Thanksgiving when the cost-effective solution is to open later?

I realize this may not be the solution to it all. I’m just making an observation due to the hoopla made because of Thanksgiving shopping. And once more, I’d like to restate that I am not bashing Black Friday. Far from it. All I’m doing is offering an alternative idea.

What do you guys make of all of this. Does Black Friday mean anything to you anymore? Let me know in the comments because this topic really interests me. I’d love to know what your take is on this.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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