Instead of making this a once a year event that shows an ugly image of the crowd mentality and corporate efforts to squeeze workers to garner more profits, why not expand on this concept in a more humane fashion and create an economic boost to our sluggish economy?
Black Fridays have become known as those days when retailers open their stores extra early with discounted merchandise to entice consumers. This year, many retailers are pushing back there store hours to as early as midnight, Thanksgiving Day, to hopefully gain a few extra hours to increase sells opportunities. It is understandable why many use such a tactic to help them improve their profit margins that have suffered during a time when many people are forced to cut back on non-essential expenses. Profits are essential to keep businesses moving forward and provide jobs for working Americans. But are Black Fridays really needed to achieve this.
The biggest draw for consumers is the huge discounts retailers use to move inventory that has otherwise stagnated throughout the year. With consumer budgets strained due to fewer jobs and lower incomes, Black Friday is an opportunity for them to buy many items that they would otherwise not be able to access at non-discounted prices the other days of the year. But if this is the primary reason for meeting financial goals, why is it done at this level just once a year. Why humiliate eager consumers to pack the parking lots of retail outlets hours before the doors open while forcing store employees to work longer hours that cut into a time when families usually come together to celebrate an important holiday?
Many of the large, multi-national corporations like Target and Wal-Mart are doing well profit wise. The 3rd quarter reports for this year have both of them in the black, however Wal-mart has struggled as they are confronted with issues that hurt their brand, like eliminating health benefits for future employees to keep their profit margins on par. On the other hand Target has been seeing more consistent gains due to changes that in part promote a 5% discount when people sign up for and use the retailers credit card.
These tactics could easily be used sparingly, at more reasonable hours during the day throughout the year to achieve their goals and they could just as easily be achieved by allowing people to purchase on-line rather than allow people pack like sardines in front of stores set to rush counters and the clerks who are expected to handle such mobs. These are tough economic times and it is harder now than it has been in the past for people to make the purchases they feel will still give them and their families a sense of giving and receiving at a level they’re accustomed to.
I don’t promote consumption for the sake of consumption but this economy is floundering because spending is down. By generating offers throughout the year that promotes enthusiasm with consumer buying, retailers should extend the idea of Black Friday – huge savings on popular items – throughout the year and with some convenience that more people can share in. It would go a long way in boosting economic growth and return the holiday to its traditional roots where family comes first.