Black Friday – What’s the Deal?

“Okay, get ready everyone!” The nervous manager at JC Penny’s reluctantly starts to unlock the door. People bundled up in sweaters and scarves with tents pitched in the parking lot jump from their restless slumber and race to the doors as they see the manager about to open up the store. The manager looks at his watch. “5 p.m.” he sighs to himself, and jumps to the side as the locked doors automatically open with waves of bargain-hungry shoppers searching for this season’s top toys and sales.

Thanksgiving Day holiday sales were a pre-Black Friday for many stores. Thursday was busier for many businesses than Black Friday in terms of customer population. The lines surrounding stores were a sight to see for both employees and customers. Best Buy’s crowd wrapped around its building’s perimeter! Thanksgiving deals helped increase sales in many stores, especially online. Thursday’s online sales were particularly impressive. They increased by 14.3 percent over 2013 and 2014, while Black Friday sales went up by 9.5 percent compared to last year.

Black Friday is considered a living hell for many customers and employees, but it can have a festive atmosphere, especially with more people and sales going on. Many people would consider it crazy to go out on Black Friday to try to find a good deal on a hot item. On the other hand, some would agree that shopping on that day is worth all the traffic and crowds. “Black Friday is my family’s tradition of gift shopping for Christmas,” junior Carlos Contreras explained. “The bargains and sales are very worth it. I went to buy 2 TV’s and they were very cheap. They were 40 percent off!”

For junior Tyler Lankenau, however, Black Friday is not fun and not worth it. “I heard people go insane while shopping on that day. There’s too much traffic and I have no patience for waiting in line or waiting for people to move. There are too many crowds,” he explained. Carlos agrees with Tyler on crowds, though. He said, “There are too many people! Walmart was very crowded.”

Black Friday is also rumored to lead to ruthless fights. A total of 7 deaths and 98 injuries have occurred on this shopping day. In 2014, a Thanksgiving shopper was hit and badly injured by a car at Wyoming Walmart. A Virginia man was stabbed in 2013 at the Carlsbad Mall in California during a Black Friday event. This year, although there were three injuries in total, it was much less violent than the previous year and quieter in many places. “Walmart’s parking lot wasn’t even crowded, so it was easy to park. No one was fighting,” Carlos added.

Young employees dread Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day during retail. Many stores open extremely early in the morning. Toys R Us opened at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning and remained open all night through Black Friday. Many tired and rookie employers were very nervous and reluctant to go to work, but it was mandatory to go. Employees risk getting fired from their jobs if they refuse to work on these dates. Many employees also work long hours; 12 hour shifts were handed to workers above the age of 18. Some younger employees worked a full 8 hour shift on this day.

This year, the hottest item on Black Friday was Frozen merchandise. Frozen is a very popular movie with young and older children and adults alike. Anything marked with a Frozen logo was almost immediately sold or marked as a hot-priced item for the season. People raced into stores to fetch the items. Some unlucky customers came to Toys R Us and found that the Elsa doll sold out almost immediately; they had to come another day to see if the item was back in stock.

Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day bargains and sales were very well-priced this year, and the retailers did a great job corralling and keeping the crowds collected and well organized to keep traffic at low and to keep accidents at a low percentage. Although the hours for employees may be crazy, it was a great experience for many. Shopping on this day is ideal for a person always looking for a great bargain or for someone who constantly uses coupons. If you are brave enough and willing enough to wake up early to find the greatest sales of the year, Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day are the best times to go.

After the crowd of wild and excited shoppers finally dispersed from the store, the manager sighed in relief. There were no major incidents this year for Thanksgiving or Black Friday. An enormous burden seemed to lift off of his shoulders. The employees wiped the sweat off of their foreheads and clocked out for the day, exhausted by the long day they just had.