Thursday, September 26, 2013

Save Black Friday

It's with a heavy heart I type these words. Time magazine's website is reporting that Black Friday, the ancient holiday celebrating American values and officially starting the holiday season, is facing possible extinction. Apparently, Americans are no longer going out in the same numbers and are spending less. I'll let Time explain:
A study from Accenture estimated that 44% of consumers were likely to go shopping on Black Friday 2011, down from 52% in 2009.... Last year, shoppers spent $11.2 billion in physical stores on Black Friday, a decline of 1.8% compared to Black Friday 2011, according to ShopperTrak.
That's huge. Granted, it could be worse. I mean, it's not an undeniable sign of imminent extinction like, say, a magazine's circulation dropping almost 35% in a single year, but Black Friday is clearly threatened.

Brad Tuttle, writing for Time, goes on to probe the cause of this frightening prospect:
Part of the reason for the decline in spending is that consumers are more aware that they’re not necessarily going to find the best prices on Black Friday.
I don't mind admitting this sentence makes me a little sick to my stomach. The very idea that our nation has reduced the concept of Black Friday to money is almost too horrible to contemplate. Have we really grown so obsessed with materialism that we've forgotten what Black Friday is truly about?

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
The good news is that there's still time (pun not intended) for you to make a difference. Black Friday may be in trouble, but the situation is far from critical. We should all take a page from Small Business Saturday and make a point of patronizing the corporate institutions who depend most on Black Friday to maximize their profits at the start of the Christmas shopping season.

This November 29th, make a point of showing the Store Manager of your community Super Walmart that you appreciate his hard work: buy an $18 DVD player. Let the hourly sales associates at Best Buy know how grateful you are that they've been hard at work since the previous day getting the store ready: pick up a handful of $4 DVD's.

Because if you don't, someday these people won't even be scheduled to work that triple-shift starting Thursday night at 6PM.

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