Catalog sales go back over a century. Main street predates the shopping mall. Before Wal-Mart, there was the department store. Right now, we are witnessing another change in the way people acquire goods.
Black Friday is a somewhat arbitrary point in the year where revenue exceeds expenses for retail. People once decided to start shopping for Christmas gifts just after Thanksgiving, but now they shop because today is the day stores offer big discounts to get shoppers in the door. That also means they save up for some impulse buys until this weekend, including Cyber Monday and tomorrow’s also-ran, Small Business Saturday.
Most people at work know That Guy, the one who brags about how they braved the crowds for an impossibly good deal on some loss-leader that was marked up to begin with. Most of us instead buy what we want when we can, opting not to run around, get pushed around and ultimately not get the thing we wanted anyway.
That makes online shopping much more fun. You look at some websites, make a decision, and click the button.Then some UPS guys delivers it in early December, three weeks before the worst shipping days of the year. Stores like Wal-Mart are now offering deals online this weekend, trying to beat the brick and mortar competition.
Personally, I like stores and actually getting something when I spend my money. However, I find clothes and electronics hard to get at stores, especially now that Radio Shack is gone. Shopping online is the new department store. It’s still hard to get many kinds of food, though. Maybe next year.