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Black Friday Observations

{ Posted on Nov 28 2010 by Marcus Alston }

I wobbled back to my mother’s home after stuffing myself at a sumptuous Thanksgiving Day meal at my cousin’s house.  Actually, my 27 year-old second cousin loves to cook and prepared most of the feast.  After the meal and spending time with my family and being thankful for everything I have, my thoughts turned to thinking about what was going to happen on Black Friday.

My mother expressed interest in going to Target at 4am so I offered to take her.  I went to bed after 1 am and my mother was still up.  At about 5ish in the morning I got up and asked my mother if she wanted to go and she declined.  So much for the 4am shopping spree!  We ended up getting over to Target at about 1pm on Black Friday and to my surprise the parking lot was not full at all.  Inside it felt like a regular shopping day.  The crowds were modest, calm and polite.  The items on the shelves at Target were not picked over and were orderly.  I bought only a few things and found a line where I was the second person in line.  I was shopping with my mother and my 2 kids and my wife stayed behind with my sister-in-law to watch my nephew.  My brother was at Starbucks using their wireless internet and did some work for his job remotely.  It seems that Black Friday was not the frenzy I expected it to be for me, my family or others around me.

Despite retailers best attempts at marketing, including Old Navy, Toys R Us and Sears being open on Thanksgiving Day, nearly 15 million people remain unemployed; the employed feel fortunate to have a job and are uncertain about keeping it.  As a result, spending only improved slightly for Black Friday 2010 versus 2009 (up 0.3 percent, $10.69 billion versus $10.66 billion.  Source:  ShopperTrak), and spending has not returned to pre-recession levels.  As an advocate for frugal spending and given the uncertainty in the economy, I am glad that consumers are still exercising thrifty behavior and watching what they are spending.

Many consumers are using cash, debit, and layaway in lieu of credit cards.  Consumers also want bargains and are shopping around before buying.  Shoppers are doing more and more shopping online and are waiting to the last minute to make purchases—they could be holding out for those sales and last minute bargains.

So what is next after Black Friday for the holiday season for consumers?  Well, at least for online retailers and consumers, there is “Cyber Monday”, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving and is generally busier than Black Friday for online retailers.

Write me and tell me about your experience on Black Friday and over the Thanksgiving Day weekend?

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