Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday! Thanksgiving and Commerce!

A unique feature of American, as opposed to Canadian, Thanksgiving is Black Friday. The 4th Friday in November, which is part of Thanksgiving Weekend, follows the main celebration on the official Thanksgiving Day, and is a tradition of major price reductions, shopping, predicting Christmas sales, and gauging the economic climate of the US.

(AP / Jeff Chiu)      

People line up for hours, or days even, to take advantage of sales on all items, whether to feather their nest, amuse themselves, or get a jump on Christmas shopping. Crowds are such that there have been injurious stampedes, and generally one should be prepared for sharp elbows, aggressive product selection, hoarding of items in all sizes and colours, and disputes over priority.

Black Friday has given rise to Cyber Monday,
for those shoppers who don't want to face the crowds,
or didn't find what they wanted on Black Friday Weekend.

Canadians plan trips to the US for cross-border shopping on Black Friday. Because of customs allowances, and the requirement to be absent at least a 24 hours from Canada--and for higher allowances at least 72 hours--such trips are often a weekend event, involving time off from work. Our Thanksgiving is on the second Monday in October, followed by...a normal Tuesday workday, and a more pronounced focus on the next event in the celebration calendar, Hallowe'en.  However, by the time Black Friday rolls around, the weather and marketing strategies have put us in the mood to prepare for Christmas and shop, too. Hence, off we go across the border for the sales, the outlet malls, the hotel packages.

Crossing from the Province of Ontario, Canada to the USA on Black Friday

Canadians cross-border shop so avidly that during the recession of the early 90's they kept north eastern US border towns and whole states from an economic downturn. Some even have post office boxes across the border to have US items shipped here and avoid the shipping fee (though not taxes and customs duty). Some shop ahead online as well, and have the goods sent to their hotel in time for their arrival. If they don't have one, they may rent a van for the adventure, and to hold bigger items more easily.

The arrival of Santa Claus at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the start of the Christmas season, and the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday Weekend
--a tradition begun with store-sponsored parades, like that of Macy's in New York City above, 
which included advertisements along with the floats.

How do I, a reluctant shopper, know all this? Let's just say, I have friends and relatives who shall remain nameless! Also, anyone who has spent this much time as a student, recognizes a student boon wherever it may occur!


What are your Black Friday experiences?
Your best bargain ever?
Other comments, thoughts, impressions, bargain-hunting experiences?


Susanne said...

How funny! I never thought of Canadians adding to the Black Friday frenzy! :) I have gone out early once or twice, but not in recent years. My sister likes going however, and I have several friends who do as well.

I didn't do much shopping today. There is nothing I needed that much.

Enjoyed the post. I hope your nameless friends got some good deals.:)

oby said...

I'm with Susnnne...
It makes perfect sense now that you mention it but I never thought of Canadians coming over during Black Friday...maybe that is because I would rather undergo a lobotomy than shop on black Friday...and I wonder who would want to do it.

I did once to buy my sister a diamond necklace...stood in the rain for hours, nearly got trampled when they opened the doors (no kidding.) When I finally managed to elbow my way to the counter and see the necklace it was HORRIBLE! The stones looked like frozen spit! Absolutely worthless. I bought nothing and vowed never to subject myself to that indignity again and I haven't yet. daughter and husband went out this morning...both awake at 5:30 am to partake. They said it wasn't bad and they had a good time...both came home breathless full of excitement toting a large pizza with 9 am! Oh well different strokes for different folks...I could never have gotten my husband out at 5:30 am if my life depended on it...amazing what they will do for kids that they won't do for a spouse.

RenKiss said...

I never went shopping during Black Friday and I refuse to do so. Mainly because people have been injured and even killed because people literally would stampede into the stores. To me it's just a prime example of American consumerism.

But I did not know Canadians would come over to shop during Black Friday, that's interesting. :P

Saudi Jawa said...

This was my first Black Friday. Started the shopping frenzy at midnight. It was also our first zero degrees Celsius experience! While it is debatable if we'll do it again, we did score a lot of bargains. My wife got to add lots of designer bags to her collection, and I got a Nook eReader for $99.

Wendy said...

I can't tolerate this kind of consumerism. It sickens me actually.

Anthrogeek10 said...

Ok....anthrogeek here now. I did once and they only had 2 computers at that price. Huh? Two. I agree with many of the posters in that this is a sick type of consumerism. Anyhow, thanks for sharing about the Canadian custom. Why, if it is so popular to Canadians, do they not begin a simiar tradition? We still love your buisness though. :)


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