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Black Friday: a Blessing or a Nightmare?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers crowd the malls at the wee hours in the morning, first got its name before 1961 because of the disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Its use became more popular around 1975. Later on, merchants tried to put a positive spin on the term, declaring that the sales would put them “in the black.” I did not go to the mall Friday because I’d already done my holiday shopping. I’d much prefer taking my time selecting gifts or other items without a crowd pushing at me. Better yet, do my holiday shopping at home in the safety of my balloons, and get the bargains via Cyber Monday.

About a week ago I went to the bank, and about fifteen of us waited in line for the bank to open. We wound up chatting, and the subject turned toward Black Friday. One woman described her experience with Black Friday shopping. She’d gotten in line, but about fifty people behind her knocked her to the ground in their hurry to get to the sales. Her injuries necessitated hospitalization, though she didn’t go into details. I was saddened to hear about people in so much of a hurry to buy that they kicked safety to the curb. I found myself wondering what happened to the spirit of the season.

At first, the stores opened at 6:00 am, but recently, they might open as early as 12:00 am or on Thanksgiving during the evening hours. Some people I know have scooped up bargains by hitting the malls in the early hours in the morning. I never understood the rationale of getting up so early to get to a mall. On my days away from the day job, I like my sleep.

Given the lack of sleep and crowds, I’d have to consider Black Friday a nightmare, but Cyber Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer some blessings. I was able to get a sweet deal on business cards from Vistaprint and this Monday, plan to get a deal on my favorite coffee from Ocean City Coffee Company. I expect my inbox to be filled with “special deal” emails from department stores, and that’s okay. If it’s something I need, I might buy. Otherwise, I hit the “delete” button. Cyber Monday will go further in putting stores in the black without the casualties of excited mobs.

What is your take on Black Friday? Do you consider it a nightmare or a blessing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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