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The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Overrated/Underrated: Black Friday


[one_half]OverratedZane Nogueras

For many years, shoppers have flocked to stores the day after Thanksgiving to celebrate the first day of holiday shopping, lovingly dubbed “Black Friday.” Originating from Philadelphia in the 1960s, Black Friday has since become a national phenomenon, with stores offering their best deals of the year to kick off the holiday season. In recent years, however, the allure of Black Friday has begun to wane.

Since online shopping has become more mainstream, Black Friday has been slowly losing popularity. Last year was the first time in which more people shopped online as opposed to shopping in store on Black Friday, with a margin of more than six million people. Since 2014, there has been a consistent drop of visitors shopping in-store on Black Friday, with foot traffic dropping an average of 1.5% per year.

Additionally, shopping on Black Friday has become more difficult for customers. When Black Friday was at its peak, most stores would open around 6:00 AM, inviting early morning excitement to start shopping. In recent years, retailers have begun opening earlier and earlier, to the point that some stores now open on Thanksgiving Day. Data shows that most people prefer to spend their Thanksgiving with family over scrambling in stores for a new TV. 

The people who shop during Black Friday can be just as wild as the deals. The website blackfridaydeathcount.com keeps track of all incidents that occur on the day, and there have currently been 12 deaths and 117 injuries as a result of insane Black Friday shoppers.

The real nail in the coffin is that Black Friday no longer offers the best deals. While people are spending at a record rate during the holiday season, with last year being the first time the average person spent over $1000, Black Friday is consistently losing sales. With companies spreading out their deals over the entire holiday season, more stores are realizing that people are willing to shop the entire season, and in turn spending more overall. Also, sales days such as Cyber Monday negate the hassle of heading to stores in-person.

Before the advent of online shopping, Black Friday was the king of all sales days, providing blockbuster deals to lure in as many people as possible. For decades, it was an event celebrated by many and a fun start to the holiday season. Now, Black Friday is an overrated holiday and a relic from a time before the ease of online shopping. 

[one_half]UnderratedIsaac Scafe

As November draws to a close, families are looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday and appreciating the time that they have with one another. Over the decades, Thanksgiving has grown to become paired with another popular holiday just a day after: Black Friday.

Black Friday deserves its controversy as a day previously known for its craze, with mobs outside of stores, marred by fights and people trampling over each other. Employees and customers have been involved in violent crimes, sometimes leading to death.

Despite the stories of hectic shopping trips and near-death experiences, I am excited to see that these days are long gone. Why? Online shopping is more prominent than ever before. Online transactions have increased over the past few years, meaning fewer people are visiting physical stores the day after Thanksgiving. Even on Thanksgiving, online sales have increased by 23.6% with companies creating a user-friendly mobile experience for their websites. Gone are the days of long lines and heavy store traffic, since shopping has gone digital.

Some may argue that the sales for Black Friday can be underwhelming. After all, most of these stores have sales year-long, sometimes better than those on Black Friday. But what is important is its timing. Black Friday is, for some, the start of their holiday shopping, so the sales of items come to great relief. While others will criticize Black Friday for encouraging consumerism and materialism especially after a day of giving thanks, the spirit of Black Friday shopping is really the opposite. Rooted in Black Friday holiday season shopping is the hope to express deep appreciation for close friends and family, which we do not do enough of. If anything, this day pairs perfectly with the Thanksgiving holiday. 

On this Black Friday, you won’t be seeing as many customers waiting outside of store doors in cold weather. Past years may have been extreme, with lines growing around store corners and shoppers getting into fights. But this holiday season, I’m excited to wake up to Thanksgiving leftovers and a noticeably tamer underrated Black Friday. 

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