For the shopping fanatic and bargain hunter, the holiday season does not begin when everyone in the family is seated around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Rather, the holidays begin mere hours after that Thursday in the pitch black hours of the morning.
The event is none other than the culturally historic Black Friday. With its roots tracing all the way back to the 1960s, Black Friday is not a nationally recognized holiday. However, its following, advertising and hype do seem to give it holiday status. The day after Thanksgiving was dubbed Black Friday because most retailers usually end with a black profit number from their sales instead of a red negative one.
Year after year, the day after Thanksgiving has seemingly grown in popularity and topic of discussion. Local nightly news stations across the country show coverage of hoards of people waiting in lines, purchasing numerous items and crowding shelves of popular stores. It is a day shoppers set their alarm clocks for and organize their coupon books, ready to be the first to jump on their desired discounted prey.
This year, with the economy in its steady recession, retailers are not holding back on unveiling their steep discounts. Many stores open at 5 a.m. with what are known as door buster deals. Shoppers first in line to stores such as Target, Best Buy, Radio Shack and Circuit City get a heavy discount off a popular item or sometimes even a free giveaway. Early birds waiting in Target’s line will be able to purchase a sleek Kodak digital camera for $89 or a Westinghouse HDTV for $299. Over at Tommy Hilfiger, a 40 percent discount will be taken off every single item in stock. CVS Pharmacy will be giving away free preselected makeup and hair care. JC Penny is giving a 60 percent discount on all their holiday décor items. A complete list of popular stores and their projected discounts can be found at www.theblackfriday.com.
Along with the ever popular door buster deals, comes a new trend for a day that is devoted entirely to shopping: earlier store opening times. Many outlets and malls are now open at midnight on Black Friday.
“Last year, the outlets by my house opened at midnight with ridiculous sales and offered free coffee and breakfast. It was really crowded but such a neat experience,” New Jersey resident Rachel Forte said.
“Black Friday has become such a shopping tradition in my family,” Massachusetts resident Rebecca Joseph said. “All of my aunts, nieces and cousins that come for Thanksgiving stay the night, and we all wake up early to hit the stores.”
Along with the lovers of Black Friday comes the loathers.
“I absolutely hate Black Friday,” Hamden resident Madison Adamo said. “I make it my goal to stay in bed all day. Who wants to wait five hours in line?”
Regardless of whether or not people will brave the crowds that Friday morning or sleep soundly in their beds through the entire ordeal, the employees of the major stores will be armed and ready.
“We have had several staff meetings regarding Black Friday over the past couple weeks,” local Target employee Cheryl Whitmore said. “Our managers are prepping us with everything from the kind of specials we’re running to how to deal with the massive crowds. This is my first year working here on Black Friday. I’m kind of nervous!”
“It really does mark the start of the Christmas season so that’s exciting,” Forte said. “And let’s get serious, who can beat those awesome sales?”