Exposure of the American Consumer to the Horror of Black Friday
Did you go shopping this weekend? I specifically opted out even though I needed shit, like a lamp to replace the two my terrorist kittens destroyed and maybe a second big screen teevee.
Apparently a lot of people did:
Retailers can breathe a sigh of relief. The holiday shopping season started strong, with bigger crowds spending more dollars than ever before.
According to ShopperTrak — the world's largest provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services — Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent over the same day last year. This represents $11.40 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day. Retail foot-traffic rose accordingly, increasing by 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010.
"Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and the traditional start to the holiday shopping season," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. "Despite our sluggish economy, shoppers proved they are looking for value and ready to buy if given a good customer experience.
Oh yeah? You mean with deeper discounts than ever and bizarre hours like 4 in the morning ON Thanksgiving Day (FUCK OFF, I slept in)? It's no wonder retailers cleaned up, I wouldn't say it is fair to compare the "Black Friday" of 2011 with that of years previous. I don't even remember how it was 10 years ago but I'm fairly sure it was not at all like this.
I even avoided the grocery store, lest my store loyalty card record my regular weekly grocery shopping as amazing "Black Friday weekend" sales.
"Retailers continue to stretch out Black Friday weekend by enticing shoppers with door-buster deals weeks in advance," said [ShopperTrak founder Bill] Martin, "and yesterday consumers were especially bullish. Granted, the economy is still sputtering, but slight increases in the employment rate mean fewer workers fear layoffs. While consumers are still extremely value-conscious, they clearly responded to retailer price reductions and 'door-buster' promotions."
So because fewer workers fear layoffs, they're willing to elbow each other out of the last "door-buster" big screen at Wal-mart? I don't buy it. The America I come from isn't that fucking stupid.
Consumer Reports confirmed what I knew all along - that sleeping in (and maybe playing some Fallout: New Vegas) was a much better use of the day if you're looking for a real deal. I've been capitalizing on retailers' holiday desperation for four years now, there's nothing wrong with getting stuff you need at cheap prices, there's no reason to get up at 5 in the morning for it.
Consumer Reports notes that you'll definitely find some rock-bottom prices on Black Friday, but they are likely to be on items that the magazine has either not recommended or even reviewed.
"One thing I've noticed is that many of the lowest prices this year are on secondary and tertiary brands such as Element, Sansui, Seiki, and Dynex, that we don't typically cover," says CR reporter Jim Willcox.
Is it worth getting shot over a deeply discounted Dynex teevee?! Fuck no.
A shopper pepper-sprayed other bargain hunters and robbers shot at customers to steal their Black Friday purchases, marring the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season, according to authorities.
Up to 20 people were injured after a woman used pepper spray at a Walmart in Los Angeles to get an edge on her competitors. In a second incident, off-duty officers in North Carolina used pepper spray to subdue rowdy shoppers waiting for electronics.
A man was in critical but stable condition after being shot by robbers in a parking lot outside a Walmart In San Leandro, California, at 1:50 a.m. (0950 GMT), Sergeant Mike Sobek said.
I'm not going to pretend like I'm not a consumer whore but there is a line one draws when it comes to saving a few dollars. I'd say getting shot is definitely it.
“There’s an awful lot of psychology going on here,” said expert on consumer behavior at New York University Jacob] Jacoby. “There’s the notion of scarcity — when something’s scarce it’s more valued. And a resource that can be very scarce is time: If you don’t get there in time, it’s going to be gone.”
See what that psychology does to people?
No thank you. I stayed at home. Free parking. Good restaurant on-site. No one getting shot (at least in my immediate vicinity).