BY: Graham O’Dwyer
Imagine yourself about a week from now: it’s Thanksgiving. You are with your family, sitting at the table and patiently waiting, or at least trying your best, for the main course. After all that patient waiting, the food is served, and all conversations pause as everyone digs in.
After everyone is finished and the table is cleaned up, what does everybody do? Maybe someone turns on the football game. Maybe dad crashes on the couch after having too many servings of turkey and mashed potatoes. Maybe you go shopping. Yea, shopping.
For decades, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as Black Friday. Black Friday ihas been recognized as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season ever since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade back in 1924. Millions of Americans each year go out bargain shopping, hunting for the best deals before the shelves are completely cleared.
Black Friday is an interesting “holiday.” On one hand, there are tons of great deals, or seemingly good deals. Some love the rush and feeling of beating the crowds, getting the deals they wanted so badly. Others are the opposite and don’t really care much for the crowds or waiting in the cold temperatures.
Personally, Black Friday doesn’t appeal to me much, and at this point it is little more than just Friday. Black Friday might just be changing Thanksgiving into another shopping holiday.
Over the past few years, we have seen companies open their doors to the Black Friday deals earlier and earlier. Deals that used to begin at the crack of dawn on Friday are now starting 12 hours sooner. From six in the morning on Friday, to six in the evening on Thursday, Black Friday deals are intruding into Thanksgiving.
A large part of this is due to the fact that online shopping is becoming more and more popular among consumers. It is basically a 24/7 marketplace. The biggest online shopping “holiday” of the year, Cyber Monday, is giving Black Friday a run for its money.
Cyber Monday offers a few advantages to the shopping madness that is Black Friday. Instead of camping out for deals in the cold and having to fight the crowds for the last TV deal, you can simply kick your feet up and pull up the store catalogue on your phone.
Many of the deals offered on Black Friday are time- or quantity-sensitive, meaning that some of the deals you see ads for may only last for an hour, or the store will only have a select number of specific items in stock. That means all of your waiting in the cold may not pay off the way you had hoped.
Black Friday sometimes gives us the impression that we can only find these deals right then and there. Truth is, many of these deals are not all that special, and can be found at other times throughout the year.
A study done by NerdWallet and Harris Poll found that 93 percent of Black Friday ads from 2015 we’re the same as 2014. Yes, we are getting a bit statistical about Black Friday.
“The study also found that the deals were available at other times throughout the year. NerdWallet’s study also found that some retailers increase their prices just before Black Friday, therefore making the savings seem bigger than they are,” said NerdWallet contributor, Jennifer Luna.
Black Friday continues to overshadow Thanksgiving and what the holiday is really about. When I think of Thanksgiving, I picture basically what I mentioned at the beginning, minus the shopping part.
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be saving my shopping for Monday. On Thursday you can find me stuffing my face, watching football and enjoying time with family and friends.