The New Black Friday

Black Friday Impacts Consumers and Employees Nationwide (Editorial)

Potomac Mills Outlets in Woodbridge, VA, has incredible lines outside of Zumiez at 6 p.m.

Chole Sier

Long lines, frenzied crowds, and incredible deals occurring the midnight after Thanksgiving Day may just be a thing of the past.  No, I do not mean that the frenzy of Black Friday festivities has ended. It rather has changed and developed into a much earlier staging of events.

I have always been a Black Friday shopper; hunting for midnight deals with my family has been a tradition that holds  incredible family memories. However, for the past two years, the early start times that most stores have established has ended my family’s tradition. We now shop online from the comfort of our home because retail mega giants like Target and Best Buy have begun to open their doors much earlier than normal.

Starting in 2014, the clock rolled way back with stores now commonly opening as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Some stores open even earlier, allowing shoppers to finish before the Thanksgiving meal.

Recently, Midlo Scoop readers completed a Black Friday poll. The results show that an overwhelming amount of individuals (some 64%) now shop online using E-commerce retailers, such as: Amazon and Ebay for holiday shopping. However, while it may not have the shopping frenzy heft of the past, Black Friday is not going away. On the contrary, it keeps getting bigger and bigger. What was once a Friday phenomenon is now a Thursday and Friday phenomenon. The shopping rush even stretches to Small Business Saturdday and Cyber Monday, so while online shopping  is growing more popular, the door buster hype is intensifying as well.

The Potomac Mills Outlets were jam-packed this Thanksgiving. Consumers lined up outside of the outlet mall as early as Monday morning, pitching tents and setting up camp. However, for retail employees noticed the change, now required to report to work as early as 4 and 5 p.m. Most key retailers, like GameStop and Hollister, opened at 6 p.m. One Kohl’s employee named Jean remarks, “I put the turkey in the oven, gave my son and husband a kiss, and then told them I was leaving for work.”.  Jean, like many individuals working in retail, sacrifice their Thanksgiving Day meal in order to put that very holiday food on the table for their families.

Have the efforts of most E-commerce retailers like Amazon and Ebay caused most brick and mortar stores to utilize outright fanatical techniques to make a buck? It sure seems that way. At Best Buy, Samsung 55″ inch 4k televisions were marked down to $479.99 in store, while they remained $629.99 online. This effort from retailers has increased hype to levels not seen before. Businesses offered literal price incentives to consumers to attract them to leave their homes earlier than ever to compete for discounted goods at prices unavailable online. The effort of these retail mega giants seems to be working.

The Commonwealth Center Target store now has nearly empty merchandise racks. Employees report that “The line was around the building. When 6 o’clock came, the registers became flooded and the lines, massive.”. As I walked  into the store at 3 a.m, all I could see was the remnants of a gimmick that has succeeded.

Are we now entering the new age of Black Friday, one in which consumers and retail employees abstain from a Thanksgiving meal with their families in order to grab the pristine deals that retailers offer? I fear the answer is yes, and while the trend of online shopping is growing, the pandemonium of people pushing and shoving one another in order to acquire discounted merchandise is intensifying as well. While the midnight adrenaline may just be a thing of the past, the spirit of Black Friday is alive and well, as retail mega-giants cashed in big once again from this year’s shopping festivities.