Explain Black Friday to a non-shopper

I can’t imagine how this is all worth it. A mother threatening to shoot someone who cuts in line? At a Toys R’ Us store?


I should note I have not driven around on Black Friday/Saturday since the whole thing went nuclear many years ago - so I imagine crazy, cattle herd mentality at the stores and on the roads. That’s why I’m curious if there’s some kind of mystique involved to make the perceived insanity worthwhile.[/I]

She only threatened? Wow people are really handling it well this year!

People have little money, particularly in the current economic climate, but they do have time to wait for absurdly low prices. People get territorial about just about anything involving material goods. What’s to explain?

When I worked retail, one of our stores would see a fistfight break out during Back to School. I believe last year an employee was trampled to death at a Walmart? I’ll work retail again at Black Friday if I am allowed to mace all the customers.

I didn’t think it was that simple. The craziness has gone on longer than the economic crisis.

It’s a country of over 300 million people. You take a handful of examples of the worse reported behavior on that day and then discuss as if the extreme is the norm.

It’s no crazier, on average, than what happens lining up for concerts or big sporting events. It’s certainly less crazy than a Raiders home game. As you say, it’s simply your perception of insanity.

Yeah, there was that Wal-Mart guy who was killed two years ago.

Scold more.

Pretend the line is a game and it hasn’t updated quick enough for you. Understand now?

Of course it’s that simple. For every overblown story of violence the media hypes up for Black Friday’s reports, there are ten thousand Black Friday sales in which nothing more confrontational than a dirty look occurs.

It’s the biggest sale day of the year. What’s to explain here?

Filed under “Wish I’d Thought Of It”

Yes, I expected to see that.
So the answer is the media coverage is unfair to the reality? Do other countries do this, or just the U.S./Canada?

It probably depends on the city and neighborhood too. I worked black friday at Target a few years back and while there was a lot of people and long lines it wasn’t really all that bad. People were patience and waited in line like normal even though the line was probably half a mile long since it went around half the store. They were actually courteous and understanding if there was a problem at the register instead of being overly aggressive and wanting to bash my head in.

Is Black Friday even a Canada thing? I would assume it’s only the United States because everybody has Thanksgiving off and then they go wait in line all night after dinner.

Canada’s Thanksgiving is in October, but they have Boxing Day which is the day after Christmas for their “crazy” sales days.

I just experienced the shopping point of view at Thanksgiving. My sister in law is a craigslist fiend - their house is full of toys and books all found for ‘a dollar’ (And a bottle of bleach)

She’s the type of person who pulls down a box of Christmas decorations (lights mostly) that she bought last year at the 75% off sale in mid January.

She chases the deal, and very successfully. Her house is full, FULL of toys for her girls.

She is giddy about Black Friday, and rightfully so. By carefully planning her 2 am itinerary and hitting 3-4 stores, she managed to do all of her Xmas shopping at about a 60% discount (average).

As for the retailers, they took a term that used to be negative, and turned it into a positive: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/11/black-friday

Explain COD:Black Ops to a non gamer. ;)

I worked Friday. It’s mostly just really good sales combined with the economic factors that Kiel outlined. People want the most for their dollar. I had people trying to haggle with me, and I work at a national chain.

People want cheap stuff. More so now than ever (Well, maybe since the Depression).

What boggles me are things like I read in our paper about these two women grabbing armloads of boots for $20 because they were normally $50 to $60. What?! I can totally understand buying stuff you intended to buy when they are discounted but impulse buying, buying multiples, just because “it’s a good deal” boggles my mind. I’ve got too much clutter in my life as it is. I think ultimately the compression of shopping into this hugely hyped day is a mistake – it becomes much more sensitive to disruption by weather and perhaps too much weight given to its results compared to the rest of the shopping season.

Black Friday shopping reminds me a lot of hunting. You wake up at some freakish hour on a day you really want to just sleep in, drive somewhere where you will do a lot of standing and doing nothing whilst freezing your ass off in the cold morning air, and then at the end of it all you might come back with something you wanted, and you might not.

My only real experience with it was when an ex-gf wanted to get a TV on sale at Circuit City, but came out empty-handed because getting there at 4AM was just too late.

So yeah, even aside from the rare instances of violence/injury, I don’t quite get the phenomenon either.

Americans (hell, humans in general) whipped into a frenzy over obtaining material possessions at what they secretly think is a sweet price.

We’re all really just pigs at the trough, the only question is what you are interested in eating.

For the buyer: big discounts on big ticket and popular items if you can put up with the rush.

For the seller: loss-leading big ticket/popular items dramatically increase number of customers who purchase high-profit items such as impulse buys. Some retailers do upwards of 3% of annual gross revenue on black Friday alone. Over the weekend, it can by 6-7%.