As I was sitting around recovering from overeating all my favorite holiday foods, I admit I was excited about all the Black Friday deals. I was plotting where to go, what I needed to buy, and when to do it all. I am not the type to go out in the middle of the night, half asleep, to fight crowds or stand in line. But I do like the idea of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Getting a deal for Christmas presents is a rush. Who doesn’t like to save money in this economy?
The news began showing scenes of people lining up outside of Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores, skipping their dinners for deals. Part of it made me feel that I was missing out on the deal. The other part felt that it was crazy. No way am I going to miss spending quality time with my loved ones for a shopping trip. Time is precious, and you can’t afford to miss out on those special moments.
Even with stores opening up earlier this year than in the past, people were still camping out to be the first in the door to get the well-advertised “Doorbuster” deals. The mayhem of the bargain hunters created scenes at stores from LA to DC. Pepper spray was broken out, racks were demolished, and people were seriously injured. And for those lucky enough to get what they came for, there were a number of reported incidences of people being mugged and robbed out in parking lots.
Is this a sign of our economy? Is it an extension of “coupon crazy” and fulfilling a need to get a deal? Or is it just mob mentality?
Yet at the end of the day, the retailers benefited. The Associated Press reported total sales were up 7% to $11.4 billion, which is the largest amount ever spent on Black Friday. Over 225 million people rushed out on Black Friday to shop for their holidays. Some stayed in the comfort of their own homes and shopped from their living room. Comscore reported a 26% increase in sales from last year. In the U.S., $816 million was spent online. Amazon is holding the lead, with 50% more visitors than any other retailer.
I still ask, is it worth it to give up time with your family to get a deal on a TV, a new set of towels, or a new DVD? Is this a sign of where our society is going?
-Katie Rompel, Senior Art Director