Just a few hours after giving thanks, hundreds of Americans, having just stuffed their faces with turkey and pie, set out into the biggest shopping event of the year.
Black Friday, named in the 1960s when businesses kept track of sales by hand and used red ink to indicate a loss in profit and black ink to signify an increase, attracted many buyers from colossal sales this November.
Among the most desired items this year were Ugg boots, Northface jackets, tablets, and video game consoles. However, classics like the Barbie Dream House and Nike Air Jordan sneakers were also some of the top ten items sought after on Black Friday. Coupons for items such as these, and for almost any store imaginable, were available on blackfriday.com.
With Thanksgiving celebrated later than usual this year, shoppers rushed for the best deals on holiday gifts. While major department stores such as the Gap and Old Navy, offered fifty percent off all merchandise, Sophomore Jaclyn Belanger also remembers major sales at stores like Bath and Body Works. “Most places were forty to fifty percent off,” she recalls.
Belanger, who went Black Friday shopping from 3am to 6am and again from 2pm to 6pm at the Rockingham Mall in tax free Salem, New Hampshire, was able to get “presents for family and friends at cheaper prices.”
Like Belanger, Freshman Christine Dodge went shopping at the Rockingham Mall to catch big deals at Sephora, Hollister, and Abercrombie and Fitch. However, Dodge ventured to the mall on Thanksgiving night when stores opened around eight o’clock.
Sophomore Jenn Hauss also joined the many Americans who left Thanksgiving Dinner early to hit stores for major sales.
Since the mall was not open at 4:30, when Hauss first attempted to take advantage of the doorbuster sales, she traveled to catch deals at Kmart and Best Buy until the Rockingham Mall opened. She found the best sales at Arie which gave away a free blanket and bag when $45 or more was spent. “The line for checkout wrapped around the entire store,” says Hauss who met crowds at almost every store she went to.
Last year, Hauss “got in line at noon on Thanksgiving Day” at Best Buy which was having extreme sales on TVs, iPods, laptops, and phones. Unfortunately, the store was offering exclusive sales on only ten televisions and Hauss was unable to fight the enormous crowds to reach one.
“People were trampling each other,” Hauss recalls. “The cops came and had to break up a fight because two people were punching it out over the last TV. That was the only time I ever saw anyone fight over an item.”
Dodge also remembers a fight over Beats by Dr. Dre last year at Walmart. “People would crowd around the electronics” and swarms of people swamped the store.
On the other hand, “all the times I’ve gone [Black Friday shopping], there hasn’t been crowds or anything,” says Jaclyn who has never personally witnessed arguments or violence on Black Friday. However, she does recall story about someone using a taser on another customer over a product.
Other reports of violence include someone in New Jersey being pepper sprayed after an argument with a store manager at Walmart and the arrest of two men in Virginia for stabbing in a fight over a parking space in another Walmart. A customer who had purchased a big-screen TV at a Target in Las Vegas was also shot in the leg while walking home trying to protect the TV from robbers and two people got into a brawl over line cutting in a Walmart in Southern California. The most extreme account of violence this year may be when a driver outside of Kohl’s in Illinois was shot at by police at ten o’clock Thursday night after attempting to shoplift with two others.
According to balckfridaydeathcount.com, since 2006, seven people have died and ninety people have been injured in Black Friday related events. Among the victims are those who have been killed in car accidents, shootings, and stampedes of shoppers.
Some stores attempted to lighten the typically stressful and violent mood of the holidays by providing shoppers with full music entertainment, such as a DJ at the center of Macy’s at the Northshore Mall, and festive holiday decor. Unfortunately, not all stores were able to maintain peace among customers.
Although stores opening on Thanksgiving give shoppers more time to catch the best Black Friday deals, much controversy also surrounds the issue of retail workers working on Thanksgiving. Worker’s rights groups even got involved in the debate by protesting stores that are open on Thanksgiving.
Miss Costello, not an avid Black Friday shopper because of her overall hatred of shopping and long lines, believes it to be an “absolute travesty that stores are open on Thanksgiving.” In her opinion, “Thanksgiving should be about family and pie.”
Dodge agrees thinking that workers “would rather be with their families on Thanksgiving.”
Belanger also believes that it is “unfair” for people to have to work on a day when they should be spending time giving thanks.
Hauss however, disagrees saying that starting Black Friday sales early on Thanksgiving Day “gives teens and people in their twenties…a chance to get a head start before the older generation of people hit stores.”
Despite the many violent crimes that occurred throughout the day, Black Friday turned out to be yet another successful day for retailers and shoppers.