Have we lost a yearly tradition?

Nov. 12, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

It’s an annual event that more and more people relish in taking part but are glad when it’s over.

Of course, I am talking about standing in line for hours during the wee hours of the morning following Thanksgiving for Black Friday.

To be up front, I have never and will never participate in the annual event simply because I have no desire to stand with throngs of people waiting to get the best deals on items.

Stores have decided to open on Thanksgiving in order to avoid the mass hysteria that seems to follow the Friday after we give thanks for what we have.

Media reports over the last week have suggested it will mean shoppers will partake in the tradition of Thanksgiving and proceed to stand in line a day early to find the best price on televisions, movies or other miscellaneous Christmas items.

In looking for any statistics regarding Black Friday, I came across buzzfeed.com which posted several different numbers regarding the day. Here is what they came up with in 2012:

• 37 percent of Americans will go shopping on Black Friday according to research from the Consumer Electronics Association;

• 57 percent of Black Friday shoppers find the experience to be “fun” according to a study by Marvin Traub Associates;

• That same study found 42 percent of Black Friday shoppers enjoy that day over any other shopping day of the year;

• There were nearly 225 million people who shopped on Black Friday in 2011;

• To go with that, there was nearly $11.4 trillion spent on Black Friday in the same year.

So, to combat the craziness, stores elected to open on Thanksgiving and offer the same deals as they would on Black Friday.

Monday, Best Buy announced it too would open Thursday night and have deals in place then as opposed to waiting until Friday.

In 2012, workers at Walmart and Target threatened to strike if they were forced to work on Thanksgiving night and there have been numerous petitions started to end “Black Thursday,” a term also used to describe the events of Oct. 24, 1929 when the stock market lost 11 percent of its value from the the start of the day.

I would love to find some irony in the correlation of Thanksgiving shopping and a stock market crash but, I simply can’t.

The question asked is have we lost the tradition of standing in long lines early Friday morning just to find deals leading up to the Christmas season?

I guess that would depend on the number of people who take part in shopping on Thursday as opposed to Friday.

Retailers respond to the market. If we as consumers tell them we will be willing to shop on Thanksgiving instead of Friday they are going to open their doors. The reverse holds true if consumers say they won’t shop on Thursday.

Judging by the long lines that start forming just after midnight on Friday, consumers have told retailers they would be willing to shop on Thanksgiving.

Does it make it right for stores to open on Thanksgiving? No, but they are responding to what we have told them we want.

Simply put, if we are so against stores opening on Thanksgiving, don’t show up to shop.

And just because there is a change in stores opening, I’m still having no part of it.


Matthew Clark is the editor of The Daily Courier. He can be reached at mclark@thedigitalcourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @TDCMatt