Chit Chat : Black Friday

  • Black Friday begins earlier than ever this year

  • Black Friday is continuing its new trend of starting early this year. Historically, Black Friday was a contest to see which store could open earliest on the morning after Thanksgiving Day. It was a test of the dedication and determination of shoppers who were willing to brave cold and dark and mile-long crowds to get the best deals of the season. In recent years, however, stores have changed tactics: gone for many big name stores are the chilly early morning openings. Instead, they have moved their openings to midnight or even earlier on Thanksgiving itself.

    Big companies opening on Thanksgiving

    This decision has been met with mixed reviews by customers and employees alike. However, the trend continues this year with Walmart, JCPenney, Target, Best Buy, and Kohl’s plus more major retailers opening Thanksgiving evening. And for the third year, Kmart will beat them all by opening at 6 a.m on the morning of Thanksgiving itself.

    The controversy surrounding the earlier opening times stems from the traditional view of Thanksgiving as a family holiday where people spend time at home surrounded by good food and close family. However, retailers argue they’re simply giving consumers what they want.

    Giving consumers what they want

    Kathy Grannis is spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation and she said, “People have shopped on Thanksgiving Day since we started surveying people. The difference the last three years is that retailers are flicking the light switch on.” In 2005,the surveys showed just 11 percent of consumers shopped on Thanksgiving. In 2012, that had risen to 25 percent.
    Another reason retailers are amping up their game this year is because of the late date on which Thanksgiving falls. It is always the last Thursday of November, which this year is the 28th, thus making the official holiday shopping season the shortest in a decade.

    Shortest shopping season in a decade

    Ali Lipson, the senior retail and apparel analyst at market research firm Mintel said, “There’s a shorter window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there’s fewer days to shop.” Even a few extra hours or an extra day could make a significant difference to major companies.

    This year retailers are also having to deal with a tighter-fisted shopper. Grannis explained, “There’s a few factors already at work here. They’re dealing with an already frugal customer.” Last year, the federation’s surveys revealed that in October, people planned on spending $752 during the holiday season. This year, however, that number is down to $738, which Grannis hypothesized is because of the shaky economy and a lack of faith in Congress.

    Shoppers who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping can do their own deal-finding from the comfort of their armchair with a laptop or mobile device. Jumpin Jammerz is one such online company which offers great seasonal deals on its inventory of adult-sized footed pajamas. These pajamas make a great gift for the big kid in your life and you can shop there without setting a single foot out into the cold.


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