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Black Friday Has Become Black Thursday

11/15/2011

Black Friday buzz has gone beyond a fevered pitch to just plain annoying.

Emails, articles, ads – all touting what retailers are doing different or better, at least from their perspective, than last year to make Black Friday the greatest event on the retail calendar. Just to be clear, the term Black Friday, evolved from the fact that for many retailers the entire year is operated in the red until the holiday season – which was traditionally kicked off the day after Thanksgiving.

Some of the retail headlines in my in-box this morning include, “Sam’s Club Reveals Black Friday Deals”, “Sears Outlet To Match Competitor Black Friday Ads”, and “Walmart Gets A Thursday Start On Black Friday”. So what!

Here’s where the absurdity of Black Friday gets real. A Target employee in Omaha is taking on his employer for its plan to open stores at midnight on Black Friday. The employee starts a petition on Change.org called, “Tell Target To Save Thanksgiving“. His gripe? His work hours are messing up his holiday plans. I thought that was pretty well understood by anyone working retail.

The comments on the petition make for an interesting read. There are, of course, the mandatory sentiments about corporate greed and insensitive corporations but others are heartfelt – and should be given credibility by the retail community. One comment from Deborah Schwartz reads, “I’m so tired of turning on the news the Monday after Black Friday and having to hear about how much money the big retailers did or didn’t make. As if that’s the point of our year-end holidays. I’m tired of Christmas being promoted BEFORE Halloween. I’m sick and tired of these attempts to brainwash us into thinking Christmas is about how much money we spend. Every American has the right to spend Thanksgiving with their families – it’s a national holiday! This is employee-abuse, plain and simple, and a threat to EVERY American worker. Target, stop exploiting your employees!”

Strong words, no doubt. But it’s not likely to change what has become an American tradition – shopping after Thanksgiving. If Black Friday 2011 is anything like 2010, retailers are going to be swimming in cash while shoppers enjoy savings. Black Friday deals drew 212 million shoppers to stores in 2010 and collectively spent $39 billion on products and services. The average amount spent by a Black Friday shopper in 2010 was a whopping $365.34!

Black Friday 2011 is projected to be 20 percent greater than 2010.

Me? I’m going hunting.

 

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