Days of Change

Day 389 – Black Weekend

November 28, 2009
1 Comment

The term “Black Friday” was more of an industry term than a media event in the past. While it could apply to the dread involved in fighting shopping crowds, it supposedly refers to the time in the year where retail gets into the black and will make profits from now until the end of the year. I have no idea how true that is now, but I do know what business is doing to affirm it.

Not even that long ago, when I was a kid, the massive mark downs¬†were saved for the post-holiday season. Stores always had sales during Christmas time, but they would apply to regular shoppers. Lately, the concept of early morning Friday “door busters” became king. A one-time price reduction of 25-50% was applied to one or more big-ticket items (laptops, TVs, game systems) to encourage store loyalty. I took 4 years to decide on a $50 all-in-one printer, so I don’t go for these rush bargains. I work in the electronics industry. The price isn’t as important as the warranty, because all this stuff is crap made in China.

So, why have Black Friday sales? It’s a form of social conditioning. You’re only likely to get the discount prize at one store because of timing. Get it or not, you’re already in the store, so you’ll probably buy something. Why do this holiday shopping thing all over again?

The biggest shopping day is not Black Friday, it’s the day or two¬†before Christmas. It makes sense. You’ll get 3 or 4 more paychecks before December 24 and one less credit card bill by waiting a month. There’s a month’s worth of sales flyers and price comparisons to do. That’s not the goal for retail.

I like electronic toys, but I have less of them than the average teenagers. I don’t buy much at all on impulse. I don’t buy other people’s gifts that way. If you look at the kinds of things that go on sale, they’re attractive as gifts to yourself as well as others. That’s another goal. Why buy that LCD TV for the Superbowl when you can buy it on sale in December? It’s better for the bottom line of the store right now. Forget about tomorrow.

Buy now, buy big, buy for yourself and do it before you can go to another store.

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