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The Demise of Black Friday?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

"Whatcha doin' strappin' on them shootin' irons, Jake?"

"Come on, Luke, ya know it's Black Friday. A guy wants to get a deal, and crowds get mighty ornery."

A scene from no Western show ever. That's because insane shopping the day after Thanksgiving is a relatively new invention. Sure, there have been various events in history with the moniker of Black Friday, but the version we know today apparently did not begin until the 1980s. Now it's a "tradition" tacked onto Thanksgiving.

That Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and others are considered launches for the Christmas retail season, so insane shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving (where people seem to have forgotten being thankful and their greed kicks in). Shopping seasons and Black Friday went together.

Mostly made at Custom Tombstone Maker
Years ago, I worked in a retail store that was giving away some silly thing to the first hundred customers. People would show up, get the thing, then turn around and leave. What, you don't want a part of the loss leaders, where merchants lose money on some things that got you in the door so they make it up on other purchases?

I tried Black Friday shopping a couple of times, but decided that paying a little more and doing some advance planning outweighed the crowds, early hours, and other hassles. And risk. It's not exactly safe for store employees, and shoppers have been killed during the madness of Black Friday.

There are several reasons I see that it is going to ring down the curtain and join the choir invisible.

The first of these is Cyber Monday. The internet is cutting into Black Friday, and Cyber Monday seems to have had its origin in 2005. Retailers big and small would have discounts where people can safely shop online. Have you heard people say they'll skip Black Friday and wait for Cyber Monday? I have.

Next is how the big push has shifted, and Black Friday sales are happening early. These occur online and in many stores now.

Public domain image of the Rona, modified at FotoSketcher, added graphic from Open Clipart

Because our Creator designed us to grow, think, and adapt, responses to COVID hysteria prompted a third reason Black Friday is fading: innovations. While many businesses went under, others tapped into the internet marketing and burgeoning contract delivery driver business. Some expanded their existing delivery services.

Most people think of Prime from Amazon, a paid service that is supposed to give good shipping (my wife and I have recently seen a serious drop in delivery quality, however). Another merchandising giant is Walmart, and they have a rival to Prime. It is Walmart Plus, which has ship-from-store, pickup, and 3-day shipping. I was in the local store a couple of days ago and saw the ongoing Black Friday sales set up early, and the streaming radio was advertising that Walmart Plus members get shopping advantages earlier than other folks. Plus deliveries and all that.

Unfortunately, this short article does not discuss the small businesses. From what I've seen, they are paying attention and learning from the big guys who can afford to take some risks. Keep going, retailers. You essentially made Black Friday, now you're doing away with it. This child would like to have the dreadful tradition of Black Friday door busting become a regretful memory. Cyber Monday may fade away as well, but I reckon it contributed to a greater good.

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