UNITED STATES—Black Friday, which I have renamed Black Thursday (let’s be honest, the sales have started on Thursdays for several years now), it’s a day unlike any other in the retail arena. There are people who are novices to the big day, and man if you’ve never been out on this day where bargains are aplenty, proceed with caution. Why do I say that?
You have to have patience, but be prepared for utter chaos in many ways. I was a proponent for years of having the sales start earlier, but now that I reflect I want things to return to the good ole Black Friday where retailers open their doors at 5 or 6 a.m. and let the shopping frenzy begin. Some of the retailers notably JC Penny opens its doors at 2 p.m. and that place is utter madness. People are rushing the doors to get coupons, which frankly we all know are no more than $10 to begin with. They really need to stop pushing the notion that there is an actual $500 off $500 coupon. I’ve never seen it in the past 4-5 years America.
The one thing that surprises me more than anything is the fact that people seem to want to drag their children out into the stores on this chaotic weekend. Kids I love them, but this is a day where they need to stay at home. You don’t want to hear the whining, the crying and just the sheer thought of someone losing their child because they’re allowing them to run rampant in the stores. If you don’t have a babysitter, don’t go shopping until you have one. Why deal with the utter madness if you do not have to America?
I’m over the mail in rebates, it seems so many retailers want to utilize these and are never prepared for the mayhem that comes with it. Where are the forms, why does it take so long to get the money back in the mail and really, what’s the purpose? They are so misleading. I cannot TELL you how many people were constantly hoodwinked thinking they would get an air fryer for only $4.99 (yeah, you do after a $20 mail in rebate). Not a bad price, but the retailers highlight a price that is NOT the actual price. It’s quite deceptive and a dirty tactic if you ask me.
Now, what bugs me the most year after year is how so many retailers are not organized when it comes to managing the crowds and lines before the doors open. You need someone outside manning the line. If you’re not in line when your party is in line, don’t think you can just jump into line and cut while everyone else waits in the freezing cold. Not only is it rude to do, but wrong. Get your butt in line just like everyone else. If we’re waiting, so should you.
That is the one thing I appreciate the most about Best Buy, they don’t allow it in any shape, form or fashion. If you’re not in that line when your party gets in that line, prepare to head to the back of the line. They don’t mess around and if you try to cut not only will you be prevented from entering the store, but you might find yourself in the back of a patrol car.
I love Black Friday because it’s a tradition in our family, after having dinner, which has gotten earlier and earlier each year, we hit the stores and try to nab some nifty deals. Is it all about the deals? No, it’s about family bonding time and just being in the mix of the excitement where most Americans realize that Christmas is right around the corner now that Thanksgiving has ended. That positive energy, even though there are a few scrooges in the mix is very contagious. I love this time of year because in my personal opinion it’s not just about shopping, it’s about the giving spirit at its absolute highest. It’s better to give than to receive, but I am realizing as I get older my patience is getting lower and lower, which we’ll discuss in more detail in my next column.