Consuming Black… Thursday?

The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “This season appears to mark the end of Black Friday as we know it.” Well, that’s not exactly good news. ShopperTrak, a website which counts foot traffic in retail stores, estimated Black Friday sales of $11.2 billion. Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, said, “More retailers than last year began their ‘doorbuster’ deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. Those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that is usually meant for Friday.”

It now appears that Black Thursday is here to stay. The Salt Lake Tribune also reports, “Lured by earlier-than-ever Black Friday sales, people left Grandma and Grandpa in search of Samsung and Toshiba. They did not go blindly. In dozens of interviews, people acknowledged how spending has become inseparable from the holidays. Older folks pined for the days of Erector Sets and Thumbelinas while in line to pay iPad prices. Even some younger shoppers said it felt wrong to be spending money instead of quality time with family on Thanksgiving… Some said that the Black Friday bleed into Thursday crossed a line, that merchants should not intrude like this. Yet amid these protests, people still talked about feeling powerless beneath the moment — as if they had no choice but to shop.”

I do not support the “consumerism” associated with holidays. As a matter of fact, I like the idea of Buy Nothing Day. However, I understand if people do need to make legitimate purchases, such as food, fuel or other essential items.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not oppose the idea of businesses offering good deals on items. What I oppose is the false sense of urgency on these deals. I oppose the tactic of using loss-leaders to get people into your store in the hopes that they will but things they probably don’t want or need and can’t afford. I like the idea behind Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday and even Cyber Monday despite the fact that all three gimmicks, in some way, entice consumerism, which I oppose. I also find it ironic that American Express is a sponsor of Small Business Saturday, but I digress.

Whether or not Black Friday becomes Black Thursday or even Black Wednesday, I believe that businesses should offer products at an affordable price every day of the year and consumer’s should be smart enough not to purchase what they can’t afford.