Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday

Today, Thanksgiving Day, is fast becoming known as Grey Thursday, the precursor to Black Friday. Competing big box retailers are opening their stores earlier and earlier in order to woo customers to shop their store. A few years ago, 4 a.m. was an early start for all but the most eager Black Friday shoppers. 

A penguin with a black eye
Black Friday or Black Eye Day?

The next milestone was midnight opening so that crazy shoppers could satiate their bargain hunting desires without having to get up super early on Friday. They just stuffed themselves silly with tryptophan loaded turkey and snoozed away the rest of Thanksgiving until it was time to hit the sales.

Now companies like Walmart and Target are pissing off their employees by opening at 7 or 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in order to grab those few extra shopping hours from their customers. Some Walmart employees are so upset about losing part of their holiday that they are threatening to strike and walk off the job. A risky move by those minimum wage minions, since they are highly expendable and their positions are easy to fill.

The vicious circle of shopper and retailer continues and becomes increasingly more vicious. Last year, Black Friday shoppers were armed with pepper spray and numerous people were trampled in the madness. It has come to the point where Black Friday should be renamed Black Eye Day in honor of all the battle scars won by those brave bargain hunters.

Following on from Black Friday is Blue Monday, named after the color of the bruises sported by the stalwart shoppers who ventured into the eye of the storm for a glimpse of a bargain. The same bargains which can be found online less than 72 hours later.

The retailers are laughing all the way to the bank with this fake bargain shopping weekend. It is a chance for them to blow out old stock at seemingly stealworthy prices. The truth is only a small handful of items with Black Friday price tags are being sold for cost price or less. 

The stores advertise the hottest deals and stock fewer than a dozen of these 'less-than-cost' items for sale to avoid making major losses, knowing that the people caught up in the spending frenzy will more than cover these loss leaders by buying a second or third choice widescreen TV, tablet or laptop. After all, nobody wants to invest their time and effort in BF shopping and come away with nothing.
Kansas City Chiefs Logo
Kansas City Chiefs - The NFL loss leader with 9 so far
Smart consumers will avoid BF shopping like the plague. The prices are no better at this time of the year than at any other time. Given the consumer's thirst for bargains, retailers will actually buy more closeout and 'last year's model' items to feed the masses. Factor in the stress and danger of fighting the crowds for these pseudo sale items and you end up with a recipe for buyer's remorse.

My advice (and trust me, I am an advice expert) is to not go out on Grey Thursday or Black Friday to shop for a bargain. Avoid the hype, the stress and the expense, but if you must spend money, then do some research over the weekend and shop online on Cyber Monday (I know I called it Blue Monday, that was just an excuse to add the New Order video).

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Shopping.


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