By Sarah Goupil
There is a long line of customers waiting outside their favorite stores. Their feet are tapping, eyes constantly looking at their watches, waiting for the doors to open. They have their list of items to look out for. They have checked online for what stores will have the best sales.
It's 7:59 p.m. and the mall opens at 8 and everyone is ready to go. Eight o'clock hits and everyone busts through the doors. Finally they're in and shopping away. Sales associates are waiting to help the eager shoppers.
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is the beginning of holiday shopping for many shoppers.
People wake up early, stand in line for hours, fight through crowds - and for what? To get that good deal on the flat screen they wanted? Or the new iPhone that just came out? Or maybe they've been eyeing up that Michael Kors purse, but couldn't bring themselves to spend the $400 on it.
Everyone wants the good deals, the newest items and cheap Christmas gifts. And let's face it: Money is tight around the holidays and, if they can get something for cheaper than it would normally be, then waking up at 5 in the morning just might be worth it.
Stores and malls are starting to open up earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving each year. Some open Thanksgiving day and stay open until around midnight and then close for a few hours until the morning, when they open again. Others, however, open on Thanksgiving and stay open all night and don't close until Friday night.
Family Time or Time to Work?
Thanksgiving Day is finally here. It's 3 o'clock and Grandma has made the stuffing, mashed potatoes, carved the turkey and made the gravy. The table is set with proper place settings. Everyone sits down for the first family meal in a while. But they have to eat early, because the kids have to leave to go to work when the malls open. Everyone tries to spend as much time together before they are whisked away to work the night shift.
Thanksgiving, a time for family, is being replaced with shopping. While it is nice to be able to run to the mall and grab some pre-Black Friday deals before the crowds, the people working miss out on being with their family during this holiday.
Is it fair that employers ask their employees to work and be away from their families, but they get to go home and be with theirs? Most retail stores open at 8 on Thanksgiving. Employees with big families, or family from out of town, lose out on the chance to spend the holiday with them.
Alex Goupil, a worker of three years at Best Buy in Buffalo, has had to work Thanksgiving Black Friday every year.
"Black Friday is our busiest day of the year and ever since we started opening on Thanksgiving it is only gotten more busy," he said. "My family lives in Virginia and I have not been able to spend a Thanksgiving with them in years. Unfortunately, it comes with the job. However, our managerial staff always provides us with a turkey dinner and I think that is very considerate."
A Changing Time
In years past, Black Friday was a mob scene. There would be traffic, long lines, no parking spots and torn-apart stores. Now that stores are open the day before, it cuts down on the amount of people actually shopping on Black Friday. There are more people going out at different times, whereas in years past, when stores were closed during Thanksgiving, everyone was trying to go out around the same time to get the good deals. Now there is more time to shop and stores have deals going on longer.
The Dark Side of Black Friday Shoppers
Every year people are trampled to death because of the huge crowds of people waiting to barge into stores to get the best deals. Many are injured severely due to the craziness of people when it comes to getting a discount. The stress of shopping can be enough to set some over the edge. Add in a crowd to that mix and one can end up with a disaster.
Here is a link to the Black Friday death count
for this year, a site that also has information on the past year's deaths and injuries.
Its sad to think the lengths people will go to just to get a few dollars off. And those who are willing to hurt another human being over it are the ones who turn the fun of shopping into a day that makes people want to stay in the homes.
The Bright Side
If you can look past the crazy people, the traffic, the lines and the fact people are being taken from their families, Black Friday is the best day to do holiday shopping. With all the amazing deals, one can cut the amount of money spent on gifts in half.
Some restaurants and stores are closed on Thanksgiving. They give their employees the day off to be with family.
Brooke Ferguson worked at Joe's Inn, a restaurant in Richmond, Virginia.
"Thankfully, we are closed on Thanksgiving. I can't imagine being away from my family during the holidays," she said. "Since I have been away in college, I rely on the holidays to spend time and be with family. I think it is important that employers take that into consideration."
The Perks of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday
Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are a great way to add to that shopping. These days happen the following Saturday and Monday after Thanksgiving.
Small Business Saturday: Small Business Saturday is a great way for smaller non-chain stores to make some extra money by offering one-day sales. Smaller businesses often are overlooked on Black Friday, because larger enterprises are able to give larger discounts. This day gives them the opportunity to get customers in the door and away from the larger companies.
Supporting small businesses help the local economy. One may pay a bit more than at a chain store, but it is important to remember the people being helped directly. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it is nice to help out the community around you.
Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday is great for those who do not like dealing with the chaos of Black Friday. All the deals one would have received in stores can usually be found online. Websites will use Cyber Monday to either extend the deals for another day or offer even more discounts. A lot of retailers run out of sizes or colors a customer may desire. But with Cyber Money, one can order that special gift for someone, or oneself, while still receiving the same deals as in the store.
So, What is the Fuss About this Year?
Here is a link
to the hottest items for Black Friday shoppers of 2017. It includes what people are shopping for and what stores have the best deals. Shoppers look for the best items at the lowest price. They know that if they do not get to the stores quick enough, all the good items will be gone.