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11/04/14

Mercy willing: Why 'Black Friday' needs to go back to a one day affair

As the calendar turns to November, retailers aren't so much worried about the Thanksgiving Day menu per say but rather what's on the agenda for the next day.
You see "Black Friday" has morphed from a busy shopping day into easily the busiest shopping day of the year, whether you're waiting in line at Best Buy for a $200 laptop or sitting on your couch fighting a slow internet connection to ironically buy that same laptop, only online rather than in person.
But as much as "Black Friday" has turned into the most important day for retailers in terms of determining just how successful their fourth quarter sales revenue is going to be, it has spilled over to subsequent days before or after the day after Thanksgiving.
"Cyber Monday," for instance, is the online version of "Black Friday," and some retailers even will begin rolling out pre "Black Friday" sales within the next few weeks, sort of trying to jump the gun on getting customers in the door but ultimately taking the onus and importance off the actual Friday in question.
The last straw for "Black Friday" as a whole are retailers who have started opening on Thanksgiving Day, any time between noon and 6 p.m., in order to start their money ball rolling a little earlier than expected. Not all stores implement this game plan but the ones who do draw plenty of criticism for asking employees to cut short their turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie in exchange for clocking in before the second of three football games reaches the fourth quarter.

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Working on Thanksgiving Day. Timeout.
Some of stores that defend the Thanksgiving Day sales bonanza argue that their employees have the option of working either Thanksgiving Day or the day after, the real "Black Friday." You have to wonder if that reasoning sounds more like clever public relations versus the idea that most employees have to work both days anyway.
In any event, "Black Friday" was at least bearable as the one shopping day of the year when you can justify getting up at 4 in the morning just to get a $25 Blu Ray player or pushing and shoving total strangers to get a little closer to that down comforter for just the right price.
The thought of taking what is a hectic, hard to love shopping day and adding to it is equal parts
inane and thoughtless, particular the latter when it comes to the people who have to work that day (unless you're in sales and earn a commission, perhaps).
What makes an event a can't miss draw is making it special enough to happen just once. "Black Friday" grew to be a sales juggernaut on the idea that the pricing was a one and done type endeavor. Retailers and their subsequent greed have taken "Black Friday," an advertising and marketing lynch pin, and watered it down.
Those who enjoy the pulsating and pensive nature of "Black Friday" do so because that day was special from a sales standpoint. All opening on Thanksgiving, or any other days before or after that with the same tag line, is just throwing cold water on what once was a hot event.

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