Bargain Hunters Plan Strategy

Alexandria Smith, Copy Editor

Shoppers are planning sales strategies as Black Friday draws near – and in some cases, earlier in the season than ever before.

Black Friday is an industry trend that occurs the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the season of holiday shopping with massive sales.  Black Friday is very important to business and has been for the last 70 years, said Business Department Chair and economist Tim Kearney.

“Knowing that consumers will be spending during that following month goes all the way back well before the ‘30s. President Roosevelt changed the day of Thanksgiving to add an extra Thursday to the year to get an extra week of spending,” said Kearney. “So, it’s a long standing tradition and then the tradition feeds on itself – a lot of people are off of work, home for long weekends – so there should be a lot of people at the Crossing’s Outlets, or Reading Markets from New Jersey.”

Companies use this date only as an opportunity to extend the shopping period but to increase yearly profits.  According to TIME magazine, the term “Black Friday” originated in 1864 to mark a stock market panic but was appropriated to describe the rush of crowds in stores in the 1960s.  The term refers to accounting balance sheets in which black ink represents  profit.

Kearney said the early-buying trend is crucial for retail corporations.

“Companies, even if they have different types of companies, like Target versus Best Buy, they’re all competing for consumers’ holiday spending,” said Kearney, “So, no one can afford to be left out from a day like Black Friday. They’re all in competition with one other and if one company says, ‘I’m not going to do that; I’m going to offer something later,’ that big rush of consumer dollars would have already occurred and so, consequently, even though it seems overdone, it’s that kind of warily eyeing each other that companies will participate in one way or another.”

This is something that sophomore business major Bridget Guarneri understands very well. Her economics class debated the deals Black Friday sales have to offer.

“All the companies advertise like crazy, and they put all of their effort into these few months so that on Black Friday you are persuaded to buy their product. They will do everything they can to get you to buy something on Black Friday. Even if that means slashing their prices,” said Guarnieri.

Companies such as Kmart, Target and Walmart are offering new hours for shopping – earlier, on Thanksgiving evening – to better suit customers who’d rather shop at a more convenient time.

Sophomore OT major Samantha Rehrig said she still enjoys Black Friday midnight shopping excursions.  She experienced Black Friday for the first time last holiday season with her mother – and the pair shopped almost until they dropped: they hit the stores for eight hours.

“We were at Kohl’s and I sat in the men’s section on the floor because I literally was just so tired, but my experience wasn’t that bad. Nobody punched people when I was there, it wasn’t anything horrible,” she said. “At Target they were having some issues with shoplifting so they made the lines weave in and out of the aisles for the registers. So we were in lines for maybe two hours but we ran into people that we knew. So, it kind of sucked but it was really cool at the same time.”

Rehrig recommends that shoppers create a list beforehand so they can snag good deals. She had an iPod Touch on her list and planned to get to Target first. She said planning made her experience a lot easier.

“We went to Target first because that was the absolute thing we needed on sale. Then you have your second and third choices based on that. You don’t go into Black Friday blind,” she said.

For those who do not enjoy the rush or crowds of Black Friday there is always Cyber Monday, another trend for consumers who want to snag items at reduced prices.

“It’s for people who don’t want to deal with the crowds and the people that forget to get stuff that they should have picked up on Black Friday, so it’s a better sale online,” said Rehrig.

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