Has Black Friday event run out of steam?

By Randall Rigsbee
Posted 11/29/18

I’ve never understood the appeal of Black Friday.I understand the desire to save money, certainly, and I suppose broken down to its basics that’s what Black Friday – American …

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Has Black Friday event run out of steam?

Posted

I’ve never understood the appeal of Black Friday.
I understand the desire to save money, certainly, and I suppose broken down to its basics that’s what Black Friday – American consumers’ chance to snag deals on televisions or cookware or whatever else people are buying for holiday gift-giving -- is about.
But since my awareness of Black Friday as a phenomenon a few years ago, I’ve had trouble processing what I’ll call effort versus reward.
Is fighting crowds (sometimes literally) worth the savings reaped?
Two years ago, compelled by my wife’s interest in a set of Pioneer Woman pots and pans, she and I braved, for the first time ever, the thick Black Friday crowd at one of the big box stores. The packed parking lot itself was a marvel.
To only further add to the mystique of Black Friday, this particular Black Friday event actually occurred Thursday evening.
The experience, in spite of my reluctance, was fun, especially when I executed what I considered a classic Black Friday shopping maneuver, using my height advantage to reach in over the crowd and seize the desired item from the shorter folks clamoring below.
At the time, I felt a little guilty for my behavior, and whenever I see stock footage on television of a Black Friday door-busting rush, I feel another pang of guilt mixed with a dose of shame. While I enjoyed the experience, I found myself asking the question I posed above: was it worth it?
This year, after emerging from a food coma, I was talked into giving Black Friday another try, though this time we had no goal, no Pioneer Woman needs we needed to meet. This time, we decided to attend Black Friday events just for the spectacle.
While my wife and I were resolved to stay above the fray, we didn’t exactly come away from the experience empty-handed.
We bought a few things that seemed too good to pass up, but spending less than $40 on our goods, I knew we weren’t exactly the kind of Black Friday shoppers retailers are looking for.
In fact, the crowd Thursday night was impressive, but nobody seemed to be buying very much and, more pointedly, nobody seemed to be having much fun.
By early Thursday evening, we’d checked off both Thanksgiving and Black Friday and were safe and warm back home.
On Saturday, we drove to Wake County to check out a couple of stores there boasting Black Friday deals.
In Target, we noticed a Blender (normal price $24.99) with a red sale tag offering it for $25.99. Obviously this was a humorous mistake, but shoppers seemed disinclined to grab up the item.
In fact, we noticed that there weren’t many people grabbing many deals at all.
Are folks just shopping a bit more carefully this year? Or maybe they were waiting for Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday?
Or maybe Black Friday, as a cultural phenomenon, has run its course.

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