The week that just ended was a feast – first for eaters of Thanksgiving treats of turkey and all the trimmings and then for all the holiday shoppers trying to catch Black Friday and other assorted bargains.
So how did the tribute to consumerism go? (We’ll assume the feasting on food was without incident.)
MAD AND THRIFTY
New York magazine’s Daily Intel blog has a nice wrapup, including this quote: “"There are too many people, but we got a great deal so it was worth the madness.”
Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo.com has an interesting observation: “As I see this today and as it seems to have evolved over the last decade or so I’m starting to wonder whether Black Friday isn’t evolving into some modern day version of one of those old inversion festivals from the Middle Ages.”
Elsewhere at TPM, the most crazed Black Friday behavior is chronicled. The list includes guns, arrests and an abandoned child.
“For all the stress of the waiting, the Black Friday deals have a physical—and positive—effect on our brain. In the age of the smartphone, retailers lure customers with mobile coupons to get cell-phone shoppers to buy at the store, rather than online. And so even if discounts will get deeper in-store or on Cyber Monday, Black Friday-specific coupons can offer an immediate sense of relaxation. All of which makes consumers happier, found a recent Claremont Graduate University study.” So writes Rebecca Greenfield at the Atlantic.
She concludes: “The people drawn to Black Friday do it because it makes them feel good for reasons beyond their control. It might not appeal to your particular sensibilities because your insides are wired differently. But this is how these people want to spend their days off: because it makes them happy. In which case, enjoy your shopping hell.”
SO WHAT DO YOU REALLY THINK?
The Washington Post’s Neil Irwin sums up the shopping in this headline: Black Friday is a bunch of meaningless hype, in one chart
Speaking of provocative headlines, try this one from the Los Angeles Times: Black Friday fight at women's underwear sale caught on video
Something new was added to the 2012 version of Black Friday – labor protests. Specifically, WalMart’s employment practices were targeted. The Nation’s Josh Eidelstein described it this way, “For about twenty-four hours, Walmart workers, union members and a slew of other activists pulled off the largest-ever US strike against the largest employer in the world.”
Washington Monthly’s Kathleen Geier wrote of WalMart, “Its economic model is based on low-wage labor, and it has been notable as one of the most vehemently anti-union employers in American history.”
Meanwhile, conservative blogger Michelle Malkin described the proponents of the labor action as “thugs.”
Reason’s Peter Suderman’s opposition to the labor advocates is summed up in a series of tweets.
USA Today may have best summed up the entire exercise: “Scattered walk-outs and protests by Walmart workers and their supporters in at least nine states may have scored symbolic points Friday by taking on the retail giant head-on, but apparently they did little to keep shoppers away as the company quickly claimed its best Black Friday ever.”
NOT SO GREAT
CNNMoney reports: “ShopperTrak, which measures and analyzes foot traffic at more than 50,000 retail locations nationwide, says Black Friday store visits climbed 3.5% from last year to more than 307.67 million. But Black Friday retail sales fell 1.8% to $11.2 billion, the firm said.”
Why Cyber Monday, of course. The International Business Times reports: “The online players are definitely participating more on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, so Cyber Monday is being shared with other holidays now,” Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, told Reuters.
Looking for online shopping tips? Try here.