I have never understood the premise of Black Friday. Ok, yes, it’s the first day of the Christmas “shopping season”. However- is it really necessary to start planning your sleep schedule two days early to get 40% off on some of the items on your shopping list? Is it necessary to ring in a formerly religious holiday (intended to remind people of the teachings of a prophet/religious savior) with crowds, trampling, grabbing, and general chaos? I think the whole “Black Friday” shopping thing has gotten way out of control, with stores opening earlier and earlier every year. (Walmart started that crap- thanks for that, Walmart!)
To me, Black Friday has always been a day of “found” time for family and friends. Curling up on the couch with a book. Going for a walk. Relaxing. Usually with people I don’t see very often because of distance. My brothers do go “shopping,” on Black Friday, but they usually go to watch the chaos that ensues when big sores open their doors, simply for the purpose of cheap entertainment.
Whether holiday shopping past Black Friday has really gotten “worse” over the years is something I can’t say for sure. I’m pretty certain that the gift giving element as compared to how US citizens celebrated Christmas say, 50 years ago, has changed a lot- mostly in gift volume and cost. Whether that is good or bad for our nation is a toss-up in some respect.
The problem with Black Friday are the sales. And a desire by consumers to spend the least amount of money on whatever it is they’re purchasing. But here’s the thing: if big stores don’t have a huge sales volume at 1am on Black Friday, they won’t be open at 1am next year.
Here’s the business perspective on those sales:
1) Buy merchandise at wholesale (often far less than half of retail price, especially clothes and electronics).
2) Mark-up said merchandise. Consider bringing price up slightly earlier in November.
3) Discount merchandise at 40%, still make 20% markup off wholesale cost (or more!).
4) Drive consumers mad with promises for a one-day (or one-hour) doorbuster sale. Lose a few thousand dollars on sale items (loss-leaders), make up some or all of that loss with other items on sale at 10% or 20% off. (Remember, the merchant, like Kohl’s, Walmart, Target, etc., has a significant markup built into those prices, even with the “sale.”)
The important point about this is that despite those “huge discounts,” major retailers always end up making a nice fat year-end bonus from Black Friday sales. Money – profit – is very motivating. That is why major retailers continually hold these “doorbuster” sales each year; it’s not about getting you the best price for your new cell phone, it’s about making money. I think consumers should be outraged at this, but it only seems to drive more excitement. The only silver lining in this is that spending money does help drive the economy. It does help us recover from an economic recession.
There is something pretty simple that all consumers can do to bring this cycle back under control; just don’t shop in the middle of the night on Black Friday!! If there isn’t a big shopper turnout, the stores will change. The almighty dollar is the best vote we have as consumers. It is helping to change which foods are on our grocery shelves and how much we pay for it.
Shop small businesses. Shop local. Consider alternatives to big stores (small businesses generally have better customer service anyway!).
As our salute to giving thanks, we’ll be closed on Thanksgiving AND Black Friday this year so we can spend time with our loved ones. We are, however, still offering an online Black Friday sale, good through the end of November.
Watch our Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ionicbalancer) tomorrow (Wednesday) for a coupon code good for 40% any order placed Nov 22-30.
You WILL need the coupon code for the discount, so stay tuned!