It’s finally here — the day after Thanksgiving. Referred to by many as “ Black Friday,” Thursday’s turkey dinner day yields to a full frontal assault by shoppers at retailers’ doors. So much so, in fact, that, in times past, Black Fridays have included doors ripped off their hinges by the relentless press of aggressive shoppers and the trampling — to-death of store clerks by out-of-control shopping mobs.
Moreover, this so-called Black Friday is when consumers may be drawn toward sale items which they cannot — or should not — afford. Business analysts aver that this date is a key component in keeping retailers in the “black” by the conclusion of the Christmas/Holiday shopping season.
But at what price? Cash registers ring, credit cards sink.
For months in advance, retailers have been formulating sales and marketing strategies designed to snag consumer dollars. And for their part, savvy shoppers have been studying ads and Internet search results in order to be armed for economic battle on this day of commercial frenzy.
East meets west on bottom lines, in terms of who did better: An educated consumer or a shrewd retailer? Both wish to declare victory.
Each year’s holiday shopping season turns up the heat in vendors’ ovens. Shoppers will even camp out in the wee hours of a chilly day-after-Thanksgiving morning to queue-up at retailers’ doors in order to have first grabs at hot-ticket sale “stuff” or to be assured purchase of a must have item on someone’s demand list (pressure mounts when specific merchandise is a candidate for a “while supplies last” promotional).
It would be well to recall a time when Christmas/holiday shopping engendered a merrier, less stressful, less commercial tone. People actually smiled (well, some did) and took time to greet one another in a civilized, non-consumer, non-competitive fashion. Shoppers could actually hear original versions of traditional holiday music above the din of contemporary cacophony.
We hope today’s shoppers and retailers will prosper together with an extra helping of good cheer added to the mix of the occasion. A kind word, a smile and steadfast focus on the season’s origins and traditions may prove instrumental in making Black Friday an opportunity for post-turkey felicitations over consumer combat.