Black Friday, an annual event on the fourth Thursday of November, the day after Thanksgiving Day, has a history going as far back as 1869 when a single-day-Black-Friday was observed termed the Fisk-Gould Scandal, a financial crisis in the United States.
There are many such examples, ever since, of single-day-Black-Fridays generally observing tragic or undesirable events. However, since 1932, it has been known and observed as the commencement of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S. every year.
Though not an official holiday, many states including California do observe Black Friday as a holiday, thereby making it a four-day shopping weekend for most except non-retail workers and some schools.
Arguably, it is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year, often with reports of shopping panic, shortage of stock, and even violence between frenzied shoppers, surfacing every year. Since 2006, there have been 7 reported deaths and 98 injuries throughout the United States.
Most of the major retailers open early, generally at 6 a.m. and have attractive promotional offers in place including limited amounts of door buster, door smasher or door crasher products to lure customers.
The trend of opening early on Black Friday reached new heights in 2011 when big retailers like Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Target, and others opened at 12 midnight.
When, in 2012, Walmart announced that they would open most of their stores at 8 pm the previous day (Thanksgiving Day), they were calls for a walkout by some employees.
Most Black Friday promotional ads are put up on Thanksgiving Day, the day before Black Friday. However, in recent times retailers and chain stores have started to publish their ads as early as October, often leaked by insiders.
Online Black Friday shopping has been gaining popularity in recent times probably because of some undeniable advantages it offers to buyers. With rising gas prices, harsh winter temperatures and many online deals with free shipping offers, online shopping is making its way into mainstream Black Friday shopping.
Although Black Friday has been observed in other countries for different reasons, it is increasingly picking up pace as a shopping Black Friday in countries like Canada, United Kingdom, India, France to name a few.
Here are some tips for Black Friday shoppers:
Advance decision: Plan your shopping in advance, prepare your shopping list early with alternatives in case you miss out on a particular item on your shopping list.
Advance buying: Buy in advance and get the price adjusted on Black Friday but be aware that some stores don’t entertain adjustment requests – so, find out before you buy in advance.
Group planning: A group of friends or families can split up each visiting a different store to buy a different common item on everybody’s list. In addition to saving time, this practice will ensure that you don’t miss out on anything especially early-bird sales offer in different stores.
Order of preference: Try and buy the most expensive items first for better savings. Make sure you buy only what you need first because many stores levy re-stocking fees to big ticket merchandise like electronics & tech items.
Shop Online: For those looking to avoid long queues, extreme weather, gas prices, online shopping is a good option.
Happy Black Friday ahead! Be safe!