THE SONIC BOOMER
Today is Black Friday, the day when shoppers nationwide send a firm message to Wall Street concerning what they do and do not like about their companies’ various approaches to retailing. And, as opposed to sitting in boring meetings with charts and graphs (and one guy in the corner who is pretending to pay attention but is really playing Candy Crush), these shoppers send their firm messages via cold, hard cash.
If Talking Barbie says, “Math is hard” and millions of women disagree, Wall Street knows that by Saturday. If the comments of Phil from Duck Dynasty offended to the point of no one buying their 100 (new) items, the people have spoken. And if U.S. electronics giants thought everyone would immediately upgrade to the latest, greatest tablet this year, they will probably find out they were wrong. Speaking for myself, my old stone tablets work just fine.
But the power of the purchaser is just one reason I love Black Friday.
I also love the melee. Politically incorrect comic strips from as early as 1940 show two women shoppers in a tug-o-war over one girdle out of a stack. Like we would buy anyone a girdle as a gift — but we would definitely use ninja skills to get our paws on a drastically reduced alpaca cardigan in black. Especially in our size.
Which brings me to my next point: even though we shoppers are out there buying gifts, we aren’t above keeping an eye out for anything we personally can use. In fact, I’ll bet at least half the stuff that comes home is stuff for ourselves. In my case, I wrap the stuff up and gift it to myself on Christmas morning, labeling it as a gift from one of the kids. Then I ooh and ahh over it and thank them profusely while they exchange confused looks.
“Did you buy that for yourself?” my daughter demanded one year.
“Look how beautifully it fits!” I exclaimed. “Thank you, Jen!”
“Mom, I did not buy you that sweater, and you know darn well I didn’t.”
“Thank you, Charlie!”
“You’re welcome, mom.” (Jen shot him a look, then rolled her eyes as I went over and gave him a great big hug.) “I knew you’d love it.”
I didn’t care. I held onto that sweater for the next 10 years. It was a classic style; it went with everything I owned and it had been 75 percent off. Score!
The third thing I like about Black Friday is that by the end of the day, you’ve cut your holiday shopping list at least in half. Now you’re faced with the enormous job of wrapping everything up (twice if it has to be mailed) and delivering it to the proper recipient.
Of course, that problem has been solved by the ever-increasing popularity of Cyber Monday, which takes place a few days later. Everyone goes to their jobs but spends the day shopping for online discounts, mostly through companies that offer free shipping. Those of us who don’t go to work envy them that day — their bosses are paying for the time they’re spending shopping. It’s multi-tasking at its best (or worst). If you are expecting to conduct actual business with any of these people, I suggest you wait until Tuesday.
No matter. All is forgiven when we start receiving parcels from them on our doorsteps.
So there you have it… all the reasons Black Friday will never go away. At least, not if I have my way.