Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday?

 Although I am not the purveyor of media - social or otherwise - as I used to be, I have to confess that I have been singularly struck by the lack of discussion or even advertisement about Black Friday.

Black Friday, in years past, has been a largely advertised and proclaimed shopping holiday, perhaps the biggest one of the year (the Day after Christmas being a solid runner up).  Big deals - BIG BIG DEALS - were to be had.   And it slowly backed up as it went, of course, from opening at 0800 to 0600 to opening on Thanksgiving Day.  

This was the Opening Day of the Shopping Season, that run from Thanksgiving to the day before Christmas that would make businesses flush in a way that the previous 11 months did not always do. It was the tide in the Bay of Fundy, raising the level of businesses to make it through another year.

This year, I have scarcely heard a whisper.

I suppose there could be many things driving it:  supply chains that have left businesses unsure if they will have product to sell, a labor market that may make opening at such times difficult, or simply the fact that given the last 18 months, there are really no good deals to be had as businesses need the money.  It could even be that, with the increased us of the InterWeb which has continued to move forward, companies are simply moving to Cyber Monday as their "Black Friday" - although all of the issues listed above apply equally, with the added caveat that with increased fuel prices, delivery prices may make deals less attractive.

I do not mind the absence of the advertising of course, and would be perfectly happy if Black Friday died a a quiet, unknown death.  It is a monument built to consumerism and consumerism alone, a monument which I suspect would not be missed by many if it simply migrated online.  Not that I would notice, of course: I have slept through the good deals for years.

Perhaps - if the trajectory is true and real - Black Friday will be one of those things remembered as a "thing" by my generation:   a practice and event that simply no longer makes sense in the modern world, for which pictures and videos of people standing in long lines in the pre-dawn darkness or flooding stores for deals will appear as mysterious and confusing as payphones and home phones appear to the generation of my children.

15 comments:

  1. I suspect the new normal protocols have changed peoples desire to participate in such an frantic, overcrowded ritual.

    What always struck me about black friday, is that apparently businesses operate in debt for all but roughly 6 weeks a year. Call me dim, but that just doesn't seem like a very good way to run a business.

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    1. Leigh, it certainly has not helped things. It is inconvenient at best and just bothersome at worse.

      It is a pretty bad economic model. I am not sure it was always this way - but perhaps it was. I think that as consumerism grew, more and more retailers came to count on the Christmas season as the event which would bail out any other bad decisions or slow times over the year - as you say, not a very good way to run a business.

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  2. For at least a decade the biggest shopping day has been the last Saturday before Christmas. Better deals to be had got people to waiting except for the limited quantity items on Black Friday.

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    1. Steve - An uncle of my friend never went shopping until Christmas Eve. Prices were good, even if the selection in fact limited as you say.

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  3. There’s a little bit on YouTube with the online guys as you note, but yeah… it is really restrained this year.

    I’m just done with Old Christmas. I don’t want to give any gifts, I don’t want to get any. I don’t want the wives stressed out of their gourds cremating a turkey. I don’t want to be hung over or bloated. I’d like a plate of Christmas candies out, some nuts, some cards and maybe a small stocking with nickel and dime stuff in it. Perhaps a coffee or small drink with any visitors. Maybe some Christmas music in the background.

    I gave materialism and consumerism a go… and all I have to show for it is mountains of plunder and junk!😆

    It’s time to change things.

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    1. Obvious and Trustworthy advice, and I agree wholeheartedly.
      We have earned our break from plastic society and look forward to a return to tradition, in religion, politics, and society.
      This ends when we say it ends, and this is the beginning of the ending.

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    2. Glen - I got a flood of emails today for Cyber Monday, but it is not nearly what it was.

      I cannot disagree with anything that you have said. Our Christmas has become more quiet when we moved and had it to ourselves; it is certainly more relaxed than before. And the rank consumerism has become more noticeable at this point.

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    3. Just So - Perhaps, indeed, it is the beginning of the end.

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  4. I've never been a big fan of Black Friday. I hate shopping from the start. Add doing battle with everyone else in the store? Hell, no!

    I think people have discovered that point & click shopping is the way to go, hence the drop off in the Black Friday hype...

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    1. Pete, I am quite with you there. Shopping with me is dicey thing in the best of times; doing it as a conscious event like Black Friday is even worse.

      Point and Click has definitely eaten a great deal out of Black Friday. I find it amusing that I think retailers think that "Cyber Monday" generates the same type of hype.

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  5. All of that, and Black Friday started in September, I think?
    I always shunned shopping this particular day because I couldn't believe how insane so many people were.

    I have tried to find online websites for local businesses so I could at least "shop local" when possible.

    Hubby has never been big on gift exchange, except when we had kids. Now, if we need something we get it or don't.
    Besides, we know the reason for the season. :)

    You all be safe and God bless.

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    1. Linda - It does seem to be getting pushed back earlier every year. And yes, watching people on these days is enough to send one back to the beginning.

      I have tried to use smaller businesses and will continue to do so more.

      It is a good note -as an adult, I tend to buy what I want when I need it. In some ways, the lists are more things that I might want but not to spend the money on (myself).

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  6. Black Friday was never a thing to me. In my youth, I had never heard the term until more recent times when media picked it up and ran with it. Even then, I never partook of the event not really caring for shopping with the masses or just being part of the masses. These days with the ease of the internet, I prefer to shop from the comfort of my home and let others duke it out over this or that.

    On a side note, I wondered what shopping even from home would be like in this pandemic world full of shortages... according to what the media is yelling at me on a daily basis. Every single item I ordered for a gift was plentifully stocked around the web and shipped right to my door in the week after I clicked submit. What a let down.

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    1. Ed, we have occasionally benefited from deals on Black Friday (electronics in particular). But it was never as much of an event for me as it was for The Ravishing Mrs. TB, who got quite a bit of shopping done.

      That is interesting about the items to order. I wonder if we have moved shortages to specific items in specific categories.

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