Black Friday whimpers past with neighboring sales days

Friday morning on Third Street Promenade started with a chill. While notably busy given that it was only 9 a.m., the pure insanity that characterizes Black Friday hadn’t shown itself yet, and wouldn’t as the day progressed. Store employees, street performers, and even Bible pushers took their usual places along the Promenade.

It was almost like any other shopping trip, but with much better sales. The beast that Black Friday was supposed to be was more like a house cat here.

Black Friday managed to rake in more sales than a typical day, but compared to previous years sales took a 4.4 percent dive, according to IBM’s Black Friday Report. The agency attributed lower sales to earlier, Thanksgiving Day discounts and online promotions.

Frankly, the sales weren’t so steep when I went to the Promenade with one of my fellow writers. While Urban Outfitters and Gap had offers for 50 percent off sale merchandise or the entire store, respectively, other stores had 25 - 40 percent off designated items or buy one get one deals at best.

If shoppers are going to get up earlier than necessary, be it at 3 a.m. or 9 a.m., then they need a real pressing reason to head to these stores, which Black Friday didn’t really present. Many of the day’s deals lasted into the weekend in some way, shape or form, and Cyber Monday presented offers that were either the same as or better than Black Friday deals.

So what do these short lines and average deals mean? Not any slow in consumerism, that’s for sure. Because 4.4 percent isn’t very much to lose, and the sales just didn’t happen in stores on Friday--that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

It definitely made for a shopping experience free of haggling, violence, or suffocating crowds that would just make me want to go home, but where’s the fun in that? Only one store, Steve Madden, was so crowded that we decided not to go in. We finished composing our respective hauls before 1p.m. The experience was easy enough, but why give such an easy experience a title?

If the relative ease of my Black Friday experience weren’t attributed to simply pushing back offers, then I’d say this was a good thing. I could say that we must be putting our focus somewhere else, making ourselves less self-centered people. I could say that we might’ve cared about the employees, for once. The day was even a subject of protest for those opposed to the Darren Wilson verdict, as questionable as that effort’s effectiveness may have been. But this was not the case, we are not any less worried about what happens outside our bubble of a city than usual.

And if that isn’t going to be the case, then I want a rush. I want to use a day that celebrates pure consumerism to be unapologetic about my consumption. I want to score on something besides some 3 for $20 T-shirt deal at Foreign Exchange or a pair of Clarks that are usually even cheaper somewhere else. Because this was probably worth a 9 a.m. trip, but not worth a 11p.m. trip on Thanksgiving Night, which I’ve done in the past only to see similar deals to what I saw on Friday morning. All I’m saying is, make it worthwhile.

OpinionYasha HawkinsComment