Black Friday, the traditional day after Thanksgiving when consumers rise early and take advantage of an extra day off of work to begin Christmas and Holiday Shopping, was ordained with this moniker as it was the day of the year that retailers saw the most profitable. Capitalizing on the extra traffic, around 40 years ago store owners from the smallest mom and pop gift shop to the largest department stores began to offer special deals and extended offers to increase the bottom line.
This combination of additional sales specials offered only during early bird or late night shopping dispersed crowds throughout the day allowing personnel to re-stock inventory, keep long waits at the point-of-sale to a minimum, and keep the store and employees tidy and fresh during the long busy day.
Throughout the years, retailers have started opening at midnight for the highly anticipated rush of customers now “expecting” the deals but not always finding the merchandise as inventory had been swallowed up before the sun came up. The lines started to resemble the old concert ticket camp-outs that circled stores a day or two before the sale actually began to get the best seats possible.
However, unlike most of the peaceful campers waiting for an opportunity to see their favorite rock star up close, the lines for merchandise started to become rowdy, threatening and many times violent. Store owners and corporations started to hand out numbers to people in line the way that first come, first serve airlines fill their un-assigned seated aircraft. Numbers one through fifty would enter and as soon as some checking out began, a bouncer would allow another set of shoppers in to work the aisles.
With the advent of Internet shopping and the deals becoming more and more enticing with deep discounts, free shipping, no sales tax charged in the transaction, and ease of searching through departments full of millions of items likely to be in stock as one was placing orders sent to inventory warehouses for immediate shipping, many speculated that the “Black Friday” sales would be a thing of the past at the brick and mortar locations. Shopping in one’s pjs with a cup of coffee and no driving or loading to be done was enticing. Still, many shoppers were afraid that their credit card information was not safe to be divulged online.
As it has turned out, the online shopping has increased steadily leading to pre-Thanksgiving sales and post weekend sales jamming the Internet on what has become known as “Cyber Monday” as shoppers who missed out on deals over the weekend, used their office computers to peruse the Internet when they returned to work on Monday. This was before personal computers were prevalent in households but available at one’s employer.
However, with safer methods of online shopping and services sprouting up allowing Internet shopping without the use of a credit or debit card, consumers are now browsing sales online weeks in advance and saving merchandise in their virtual shopping carts. Some prefer to look for sales by computer and still enjoy or prefer shopping through the hustle and bustle which has now extended throughout all four days of the Thanksgiving weekend.
Only, this past weekend, in a 2011 where 99% of the population is chiming in on the hate of greed, unfair corporate practices, illegal tactics, and an economy which continues to harm consumers by a disjointed government who has left the middle and lower classes with not just less in their pockets, but by restricting access to healthcare, clothing, food, and other basic necessities in order to save their homes. Others are fraught with anxiety as they are stuck in limbo as to when they will be receiving disability, food and utility assistance, and other social entitlements as the government here, and globally, suffers the worst debt crisis in history.
There is the largest percentage of formerly middle class ever in the history of the United States who had to scramble to find the money to have a small turkey and some trimmings to keep some normalcy within their families. Finding a Thanksgiving meal became increasingly difficult this year. Furthermore, Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa celebrations, or lack thereof, still need to be dealt with.
So, why on Thanksgiving night did a person get shot; several separate stabbings occurred; many shoppers were trampled including infants, toddlers and the elderly; and a store of people got sick from breathing a cloud of pepper spray designed to prevent them from reaching a video game that a woman wanted to get-buy or steal is still in question?
A meal, whether celebratory in nature or not, is still a necessity. A plain sweater, a warm coat, and mittens are necessities whether bought as gifts or not. Even a small baby doll or stuffed tiger is a necessity to a child suffering from anxiety because both parents are long-term unemployed resulting in homelessness which meant giving up a member of their family-their dog.
It was not the top 1% causing these disgraceful, dangerous, life-threatening incidents over the weekend. Preliminary sales have weekend sales up over 7% from last year, so it is impossible that all of these crimes were committed by the desperate. The desperate shoplift baby formula. They do not intentionally maim or attempt murder over a designer purse or video game.