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Comparing trends in black Friday shopping

Right after thanksgiving we have Black friday. Black friday is a time to get major sales. Or is it? Here is the comparison of Black Friday in the past and Black Friday now. Photo attributions to Kay Kim.
Right after thanksgiving we have Black friday. Black friday is a time to get major sales. Or is it? Here is the comparison of Black Friday in the past and Black Friday now. Photo attributions to Kay Kim.

by Kay Kim, staff reporter

Black Friday is the day that follows Thanksgiving, when stores offer big deals and consumers scavenge for even bigger deals.

Thanksgiving, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, is a time for families and friends to gather together for a meal. The traditional foods include turkey, stuffing, mashed potato, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Following Thanksgiving day is Black Friday, when thousands of people go to their local malls or outlets, to shop for items that have been tremendously discounted.

“[I go] mainly because things are cheaper. and it helps that things are cheaper. When things are cheaper, you can buy more for less money. X-Box games and video games are cheaper than usual and all sports equipment [too], [so] I got a computer on Black Friday and most of my video games,” seventh grader Constantine Efthimiades said.

Black Friday shopping in the late 1800s and early 1900s was campaigned through the Thanksgiving Parade held by Macy’s. By the 1930s, the day after Thanksgiving became the unwritten start for Christmas shopping. However, this aroused complaints from the retailers as they wanted a longer Christmas shopping season, for Thanksgiving was celebrated on the last Thursday of November, instead of the fourth Thursday.

Therefore, in 1939, President Theodore Roosevelt tried to change the official Thanksgiving day from the last Thursday of November to the second to last Thursday. He believed that this would boost consumer sales, which would benefit the economy. In 1941, an amendment was made to set the official date for Thanksgiving in the US as the fourth Thursday of November, giving a week’s more time to shop.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, numerous stores have been advertising their consumer goods. But there are stores that have been advertising long before November. Ads popped up as cookies on the sidebar of websites. This is possible because of Internet. In the 1800s, when computers and the Internet did not exist, means of campaigning were very limited, which meant advertising was done physically, not through social media.

There are constant updates on product discounts and deals from big companies. Target, Staples, and Sam’s Club have offered deals for Apple products. Many apps have been created to offer exclusive deals.

Walmart is taking the lead when it comes to breaking some of the long-unwritten Black Friday rituals. In 2011, it broke the first trend by opening stores at 10 PM on Thursday night, while other stores opened at midnight on Friday. This caused other big retailers and stores to be in competition to see who would make more profit of this day. Recently, they announced that for the first time, Black Friday online deals will start at 3:01 AM on Thanksgiving day. As time passes, the holiday shopping season is starting earlier and earlier.

Nowadays, stores open as early as 6 PM on Thanksgiving day. In the past, stores weren’t open until early Friday morning, usually between 2 AM and 5 AM. Thanksgiving night was meant for spending time with families. On top of that, Black Friday has become more of a shopping season, rather than a shopping day, as there is Cyber Monday and even bigger deals several days before and up to a week after the Friday.

“I don’t go [shopping] at [Thanksgiving] night because it wastes my time with my family. I think family is important to me because it is where all my fun comes from, who I love, and where I come from,” sophomore Julia Maldonado said.

Black Friday spendings have been increasing. In 2010, a consumer spent an average of $365 on shopping. In 2012, people spent the most money, where the average expense was $423.

The world today is a consumer-driven world, where goods are in high demands. People are rushed to be the first to purchase the starting fad.

Due to this ambition, there have been numerous injury and death reports while shopping on this day. In 2012, Shoppers at Urban Outfitters in Santa Monica, California, smashed the gate and injured an estimated five people, along with two shootings at Toy R’ Us. There also have been prior news, where a Walmart worker in Long Island was killed as people stampeded him, according to NY Daily News.

These ambitions weren’t too extreme in the 1900s. The police did get involved as there were car accidents and violence as people maneuvered in and out of the stores in the congested roads and overcrowded streets in Philadelphia. However, shootings and deaths were not commonly heard of.

Also, today, people are known to camp outside the stores. They would arrive at midnight or even earlier to buy the products they long for. A man, Kevin Sutton, in Florida has camped outside of Best Buy 33 days early. This was unheard of back in the days.

Over the years, the rationale of Black Friday has changed. This consumer-driven world and the notion of having to be the first person to own a new release has promoted such differences from the past.

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