Does anyone benefit from Black Friday?

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I have never participated in Black Friday. At least as a customer. When I worked retail, Black Friday was exciting and fast-paced. The time went quickly, and most of the customers were already full of holiday spirit, which made it fun. They didn’t seem to mind the lines winding through the store as long as we kept the mood light and didn’t let the rush frustrate us.

Now that Black Friday has seeped backward into Thanksgiving Day, I doubt I would be as excited about working retail. I am happy to work from home these days, and I don’t know if my sensitivities could even handle the chaos of the busiest shopping day(s) of the year. Unfortunately, nearly every other member of my family is in the retail world, so the next few weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be hectic for them and lonely for me.

Black Friday isn’t working anymore

Perhaps to avoid the brutal scenes of crushing crowds, injuries and even deaths as people fight each other for deals on high-demand items, some stores are stretching their Black Friday events over an entire week. Others discovered that Black Friday is not their fiscal savior anymore. Apparently their deep discounts more often leave them in the red. So Lowe’s and others are scaling back on the price cuts. More retailers are including online deals now instead of waiting for Cyber Monday.

It may not be lost on you that only a few weeks ago, several major retailers announced they will be closing stores across the country. Sears and Kmart will close 95 stores in the new year. Dress Barn is among several others quitting altogether. Part of me is sad to see so many businesses going under. But another part wonders if we don’t have too many retailers anyway. The drawback to losing so many is that we may end up with few choices beyond Walmart and Amazon.

Keeping my own traditions

If you are on the fence about whether to head out for doorbuster deals the morning after Thanksgiving, it might help to know that those deals are not as great as they used to be. You can probably find the same discounts online right now if you have the time to search. Appliances, electronics, devices and game systems may still be worth rising early and beating the crowds. But in the rush of a Black Friday mob, can you really take the time to examine the product for quality before you buy?

As for me, this will be another year when I will sit out the Black Friday tradition. My family already knows that those items on sale will not be under our tree anyway. But if I’m on anyone’s Christmas list, I could sure use a new big screen TV.

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