Black Friday Continues to Dominate Thanksgiving Weekend
December 11, 2015
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Each year, shoppers line up outside the doors of major retailers to find the best deals for the holidays. As the tradition continues to grow, the number of injuries and deaths rise due to the pressure and rush during the annual and infamous Black Friday.
Black Friday is a major day for large corporations to make a profit, dropping prices so low that shoppers cannot resist them. In 2014 alone, customers spent 50.9 billion dollars from the time after Thanksgiving dinner until stores close their doors on Friday night. Certain stores even offer Black Friday pre-sales, turning what used to be one specific day into a week-long event.
Although Black Friday consisted of 133.7 million shoppers in 2014, there have also been 98 injuries and seven deaths. For example, a 61 year old man who collapsed while shopping due to a heart attack, was left unnoticed lying on the ground and trampled to death by the wall of shoppers, according to the Huffington Post. Other occurrences, such as stabbings, shootings, and car crashes have taken place in the frenzy of Black Friday.
Store doors and theft detectors have been destroyed in the wave of people rushing in as a store opens. As the popularity of the day grows, so will the toll it takes on customers and workers who are put in harm’s way.
Consumer spending went up 16 percent from 2010 to 2011 and 13 percent from 2011 to 2012, showing the increase in popularity as more stores participate and sales become more irresistible to shoppers.
Some shoppers take Black Friday to the extreme by arriving hours before stores open. Twenty-three percent of all shoppers arrived at midnight or earlier and camp outside of the doors, according to statisticsbrain.com. Junior Savannah Lodwick said, “One time, I spent the night in my car to shop at Macy’s…and even then we didn’t make it in time because there were so many people in line.” Many people, like Savannah, have a similar experience on Black Friday.
Even Jamestown teachers shop early in the morning. “I go at three in the morning after the midnight rush and before everyone else in the morning,” said history teacher Jennifer Hayden. “I go every single year.” Hayden stands out from the rest of the eagle staff as one of the few who braves the crowds on Black Friday.
Those who prefer to avoid the crowds stay at home and wait until Cyber Monday, which is only three days after Black Friday. Cyber Monday is growing in popularity due to the much less stressful experience for the customer where he or she does not have to wake up early, drive to a store, and fight with others over a desired product. Instead, Cyber Monday offers the same prices and products online from the comfort of their home.
“Cyber Monday is more convenient,” said Senior Hannah Clymer. “I don’t have to go anywhere; plus, no one is around so I don’t have to deal with other people,” Clymer continued. Online retailers, such as Amazon, pulled in 7.7 million customers worldwide. Websites such as Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart made 1.5 billion dollars in total.
Both of these days seem to be grabbing more attention as years go by and sale prices drop lower. In order to make the most profit possible, Black Friday sales have started up to a week before the official Friday arrives. In addition, Wal-Mart is officially launching their Cyber Monday sales the Sunday before.
Some stores, however, have decided that Thanksgiving is too early to open their doors for Black Friday shoppers. Major companies, such as REI, TJ Maxx and Marshals, have decided to give their employees the day off to spend time with their families and relax. DSW, who will also not be opening on Thanksgiving, issued a statement that said, “Family time is extremely important to us, and we want our associates to enjoy the holiday with their loved ones. Our stores will remain closed until 7 a.m. on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.”
In Williamsburg, some non-retail businesses are using the popularity of the days to their advantage. On Black Friday, the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex is offering a “Drop N’ Shop,” where parents can drop their kids off for the day while they take shuttles over to the Premium Outlets, a main attraction for Black Friday shoppers.
As stores stock their shelves and shoppers are ready with their credit cards, Black Friday and Cyber Monday start the transition from fall into winter, causing fights over television sets and spreading holiday cheer.