We all know that Thanksgiving is actually just an excuse for
Black Friday shoppers to carbo-load before a grueling day. While market
analysts and retail executives spent Thanksgiving worrying about customer turnout,
shoppers inhaled their turkey and cranberries at lightning speeds to go “bust
down” some doors at 5 am, proving that enough carbs and caffeine can boost a
nation’s energy and its economy, but only briefly. Even though Black Friday
2008 drew more shoppers to stores than in previous years, the caffeine high of
the weekend wore-off by Cyber
Monday, which returned rather dismal results. Cyber Monday normally sees a huge spike in
online shopping from people *hopefully* on their lunch breaks at work, however
this year sales were down 4%.
While Black Friday celebrates the monotony of chain retail
stores, it also encourages unique traditions that vary from family to family
and place to place–something that the world of cyber shopping just can’t
Colorado for example, disregards extended store hours in order to accommodate
the relaxed shopping habits of its local clientele. Instead, local stores offer
deeper discounts during their normal business hours. The state of South
Carolina takes it a step further and caters the day to specific items in
demand. This past weekend, the state
offered tax breaks to consumers buying guns during what is affectionately
referred to as “Second
Online shopping didn’t suffice for international shoppers
either. Even though retailers sought to reach the world via online promotions during
Cyber Monday, the world actually traveled to the U.S. despite the ability to kick
off the holiday season virtually. Because of the weak dollar over the past few
years, some foreigners have adopted their own Black Friday traditions, venturing
to the U.S. in search of great deals which they say offset the cost of airfare.
According to this
article, Manhattan was teeming
with foreign shoppers as bargain hunters flooded New
York City’s streetscape.
It seems to me that the small nuances of place are lost with
online shopping, and might actually drive people to shop in stores. It’s
somewhat refreshing to know that people still value an actual shopping
experience, even if it is dominated by retail chains and lucrative
consumerism. And while we see Black
Friday and Cyber Monday as strictly American and identical in their reproductions
across the U.S.,
they’re actually influenced by global and local trends, making the start of the
holiday season more than just a robotic day of individual spending.
What do you think?
Does the holiday season reinvigorate the shopping experience at local
brick and mortar stores, or is online shopping with access to international
retailers the way to go? Do you have any
traditions for Black Friday? What’s the furthest you’ve ever traveled to shop?