Ah, Black Friday. It comes once a year and the news headlines are filled with stories about crowds, lines, and I believe I even read something about people being shot today in the circus of people desperate for that $300 savings off that LED flat screen television from Best Buy (or is it Walmart?).
For consumers, today is perhaps the most crucial day of year where people camp out on Thursdays to line up for the best deals of Friday. For Retailers, today is the biggest consumer spending day of not only Q4, but the whole year. I would not be surprised if that is true.
Funny enough, with the economy still in a slump and the Occupy movement going relatively strong, Many editorials from various news corporations have justified the madness of Black Friday to the fact that most people are poor, unemployed, and that the Middle Class in America has been suffering and need to save wherever they can. So instead of spending Thanksgiving Day with family as traditional, they adhere to the new tradition of camping out for the best deals come Friday.
While the slowly persevering economy is a valid excuse for the animal farm craziness of Black Friday, I really do not buy into it. In fact, most people I know who have been camping out for years have instead shifted their Black Friday focus online. Cyber Mondays start early, and it starts on Black Friday. So what is the deal with all these people still going to wait in line for the best and the cheapest?
Of course a bunch of people will jump up in arms and say it is not greed that drives people to go shopping to deals on Black Friday. I admit, for some people, it is not so much the greed as it is the festivities of going Black Friday Shopping. My own brother went to Best Buy last night with friends, even though he came home with nothing. For two years as a teenager, I woke up at 6AM to see what I could find on sale only to return home disappointed with the selection and annoyed by the long waits.
It was not worth it. I still think it’s not worth it.
When you are poor, broke, and can’t really afford anything, you do not go out and wait in line for deals so that you can spend whatever money you have. I grew up poor; I was denied a lot as a child. Treats did not exist except for birthday cakes and I maybe received one toy a year. When you are poor, you primarily only buy things you need, not things you want.
This is not what I see on Black Friday. Instead, I see a large number of people running to stores to buy luxury goods such as a computer or a new flat screen television. America has become a strange culture of materialism and it always rears its ugly head during Black Friday.
No Jobs –> No Money –> No buying things you don’t need.
No Jobs –> No Money –> Going to get that big screen on BF since it’s cheap.
Perhaps I am preaching from an ivory tower since I am surrounded by luxury items even as I type this. But when I see the so many people stressing the lack of jobs in America, and then I see Black Friday, I can’t help but think that there’s a discrepancy here.