By RACHEL LANG
KENNESAW- Black Friday, a nationally recognized event that traditionally happens each year at midnight on the evening of Thanksgiving, changed this year as many stores opened their doors early. Earlier opening times gave businesses an advantage over those that sell
similar items at the same price since dedicated shoppers were eager to buy what they needed as early as possible. This year stores like Target and Walmart opened surprisingly early, with most starting their Black Friday deals at 9 p.m., and some even at 8 p.m.
Many Kennesaw moms out shopping said they were torn between the deals that different stores were offering to attract the most customers. Big retail stores such as Target offered door-buster prices on items such as giving $5 or $10 gift cards with the purchase of a select few electronics. Door busters such as these are what set stores apart when shoppers
are deciding which long lines are actually worth waiting in.
Most people think of Black Friday as the time to buy that huge flat screen TV, a new Xbox or some other large purchase. According to frequent shoppers, this is not the only reason people stay out all night. Some do not even have planned purchases to make; they are just out to see what deals they can find. Even lower and middle-end clothing and accessory stores are packed throughout the night, though stores like these are not really able to offer the same drastic deals as large retail stores.
The clothing stores and boutiques get customers interested by picking a select few items and offering them at a much lower price than usual. Unfortunately, these items tend to sell out fast.
“The Old Navy line is still just as long at 6 p.m. as it was when they opened last night at midnight, wrapping all the way around the store,” said Ashley Lindsey of Kennesaw, who was out shopping Friday evening.
The Plight of Retail Workers
Retail workers and shoppers both agree that this year was by far the worst Black Friday shopping experience they remember. Adding the extra hours by opening early made the whole scene a crazier mess than usual. Retail workers say that those out shopping for the
night do not always stop to think about the people working in the stores during this hectic time, and the sacrifice they have made by giving up some of their holiday time away from friends and family to open early.
Lauren McClintock, a personal stylist at Fab’rik, a local boutique, complained about the mad rush of customers throughout the day on Friday.
“People have been out shopping all night and they’re tired, but they also need to realize that we retail workers are giving up our time with family, and the opportunity to be out shopping like they are,” McClintock said. “I would have much rather been out getting the
deals than working all day!”
These represent the feelings of retail workers all over the Atlanta suburbs as they are bombarded with lines, tired customers, and problems to solve throughout the night. Many even have to deal with the unhappy customers that do not make it to the line early enough to get the one item they were hoping to save on. The unfortunate part of Black Friday
deals is that only those that make it in time for the door busters get the really good prices.
Tailgating on Black Friday
Eric Heath, a graduate student at the University of Georgia who went to Best Buy on Black Friday, knows how important it is to be the first in line if you want the good deals.
“We camped out, rotating in shifts until the sale started. We have been first in line for the last two years and usually about 20th in line the 4 years before that,” said Health. “We bring extension cords, throw them over the roof of the store, and connect to the back power outlets of Best Buy to charge our phones and power our TVs, Rockband, coffee pots, fondue pots, electric skillets, Crockpots, and anything else we can get a hold of. Basically, we tailgate Black Friday and we do it like champions.”
The Meaning of Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is meant to be a day of giving thanks for everything that we have, but most Americans spend the entire next day fighting over electronics, appliances, and many more items. It seems that this year, the earlier shopping times created even more turmoil and bad moods in the stores. The true meaning of Thanksgiving is forgotten by 2 a.m. at the mall when you see shoppers arguing with sales clerks, other customers, and even fighting with their own relatives.
With the economy still not in the best shape, finding deals in time for Christmas is even more important than ever, and missing out on a door buster could mean one less present under the tree this year. This can be a big deal to many shoppers on a tight Christmas budget since Black Friday is the only day that some items are sold at such discounted
prices. The deals are especially important for those that have several kids and family members to buy for.
A Kennesaw citizen who has 5 siblings, Hannah Smith, takes advantage of the Black Friday deals each year and was hoping to make it to J.C. Penny in time to get a $10 Crockpot door buster for her older brother who is getting married in the upcoming months. Smith was very disappointed when she made it just 5 minutes after the store’s opening – only to find all of the Crockpot’s were already taken. This can be very frustrating, and a big waste of time for shoppers to stay out so late, only to miss out on the deals they had been waiting for.
“I was not happy that they were all gone after just a few minutes,” Smith said. “That’s crazy! There were way more people out this year; I guess that was because the stores opened earlier. The Crockpot was the one thing I was really hoping to get since it was a good brand, and I’ll never find another one for that price. My brother will just have to get a less expensive wedding present, and I guess next year I’ll be outside in line with the lawn-chair people way before opening.”
This is the feeling of many people when they miss out on the one item they had been waiting to purchase at an incredibly low price.
Black Friday seems to be changing each year, as the focus on saving money on those great deals becomes more and more important. For the sake of retail workers, hopefully over the next several years, Thanksgiving will not become entirely about shopping, and stores will
not continue to open earlier and earlier.
Either way, Black Friday will continue to be a huge part of the holidays, and depending on what side of the fence you are on, it will be a day of shopping that you either look forward to – or dread all year long.