Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why is Friday Black?

Are you curious about the term “Black Friday”? I was. So I looked it up. The best explanation attributes it to a statement made by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966 as a reference to traffic jams and crowds in that fair city on the day after Thanksgiving.

Another source says it’s from the 70’s.

But perhaps none of that matters. To some, it’s a day that no one wants to be involved with. For others, it means getting Guitar Hero at half price.

And it’s no longer Friday. Wal Mart opens at 10PM on Thanksgiving evening this year for Black Friday. With this lousy economy, were employees were lining up to make a few extra bucks despite missing out on festivities at home?

Many big box stores will open at midnight, including Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target and Best Buy. Will you be on line, waiting to get in?

Two years ago, I stood outside of a Target at 4:30AM. Luckily, it was in Southern California, and a comfortable 55 degrees. Now keep in mind, for native Californians, this is more aligned to 20 degrees to them. Many wore heavy winter coats. My New Jersey blood merely required a lightweight fleece pullover.

The 200 plus strong crowd politely waited on line and made the best of it. For most, it was an adventure; on a scale of were conquering the challenge of climbing Mount Everest. The gleam of realizing great values and saving megabucks was shining in many pairs of eyes. I spoke with the people both in front and behind me; all were laughing, smiling, and eager to get inside for those door busters!

My day was carefully mapped out in advance. At Target, there were four items, and nothing more. Swooping in, pushing a cart rapidly, and 10 minutes later, I was checking out. Done. Moving on to the next few stores, again, grabbing exactly what I wanted, surrendering a coupon or two and leaving, I was ready to treat myself to a big breakfast by 9. By 10:30, safely home. Whew.

I will never do that again. Why? I felt no holiday spirit. Sure, it’s about giving, but it felt like I was playing a game.

Frankly, I’m already tired of the Black Friday ads on TV as well as the news articles. On Today, they discussed how to get the most out of Black Friday shopping. I can tell you how to accomplish that as well.

Stay home.

Yes, I write about marketing. But there’s a breaking point for all of us. And marketing should not be a part of your lives 24 hours a day. Black Friday is a day off, with pay, for many people. Spend it with friends and family. Play a game, an old-fashioned board game. Watch a movie that you meant to watch 6 months ago. Make a big plate of lasagna and hold off on leftover turkey until Saturday. Take a walk around the block and notice things you’ve never slowed down to see. If you must shop, the world is at your fingertips. Celebrate the day. For you.

There will be more sales. Black Friday isn’t THE only day for bargains. But we sure are made to believe so.


Lisa Ladrido said...

Love it Gerry! I always wondered why they call it that! We always stay at home, I shop online anyway! This year since we are going to a family member's house for Thanksgiving, Friday I am having a mini Thanksgiving meal for our kids and grandkids. Have a blessed holiday with your family! Hugs~Lisa

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, and great points made all the way around! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! - Tim

Dime Store Novel said...

I whole-heartedly agree. The LAST thing I plan to do on Friday is shop! Curling up with a good book...watching a movie...spending time with hubby and dogs, drinks with friends...Yes! Battling crowds at Wal-Mart? A resounding NO.

= mr uxn design = kris said...

yeah, gerry, great post!!!

maybe better online shopping possibilities will give people the time and muse back to celebrate 'TOGETHER' - discovering, its not in the having, it is in the BEING! BEING WITH THE ONES WE LOVE AND THE ONES WHO LOVE US!


Kesha Brown said...

Thanks for the info and bits of history! I'm a Cyber Monday chick myself. I'd rather not be out in the all the hustle and bustle of the craziness that goes on on Black Friday :-)

Happy holidays!


Gerry Wendel said...

Thanks for all the awesome comments! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and the best Black Friday ever!