Black and Blue Friday

     Things got a little nutty at Walmarts across the nation on Black Friday. As I mention in my new book, Shiny Objects: why we spend money we don’t have in search of happiness we can’t buy, the events of this past Black Friday bring back ghosts of Black Fridays past for the retailing giant. You may recall the 2008 trampling death of a Walmart employee as he worked the front doors of the Walmart store at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, New York. Jdimytai Damour was 6’ 5” tall and weighed 270 pounds but he was no match for the throng of 2,000 shoppers pounding on the front doors anxious to gain entrance into the world of bargains (“in limited supply and for two hours only”) that awaited them inside the store.
     At least from what I have heard, no one was trampled to death this Black Friday. Someone, however, was shot attempting to hold onto his bargains when attacked by a group of thugs in the Walmart parking lot. Pepper spray seemed to be the weapon of choice this Black Friday. A woman in the LA area pepper sprayed 20 customers in her failed attempt to secure an Xbox video game console. At the local Walmart (Hewitt, TX), shoppers were fighting and knocking others to the ground to get the latest video releases. Scofflaws had to be ushered from the store. And, don’t forget about the $2 waffle maker riot. I suggest you watch the YouTube video of this debacle on an empty stomach. Waffle maker riot link:

http://manila-paper.net/2-waffle-maker-riot-at-walmart-black-friday-goes-viral-video/19466

The “good news” in all this, the American shopper persevered spending $11.4 billion this Black Friday – up almost one billion dollars from last year.
     If Shiny Objects have you under their spell, I suggest you read my book. It’s the best $20 you will ever spend. Shiny Objects is a hopeful tale of how true happiness can still be achieved in a culture in the throes of material possession love. Happy holidays.

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17 Responses to Black and Blue Friday

  1. My family usually doesn’t do much on Black Friday, expect for a few big ticket items if they were already on my mom’s Christmas list. This year no one went out in search of a Black Friday deal. Why lose sleep and fight huge crowds when you have Cyber Monday. (Which usually includes deep discounts AND free shipping!)

  2. Kyle Vesta says:

    I am interested to see how much money is spent by consumers on the much anticipated Cyber Monday.

  3. Erica says:

    This Black Friday was a joke in San Antonio. My mother works in Carter’s (the baby clothing store) and said that from 6 to noon, they sold $10,000 worth of merchandise… to one lady. She is located in Mexico and insisted to buy all of this merchandise, with deals getting as good as to have outfits available for just $3.50. Craziness.

  4. A_Rogers says:

    I don’t really understand Black Friday all together. The idea of trying to find great deals whilst fending for my life doesn’t seem appealing. The stress of it all isn’t worth the discount in my opinion.

  5. Sarah Craig says:

    I don’t get the hype either. I think I’d be more likely to spend MORE money that I didn’t have just to get the “deal.”

  6. Korrie Reichman says:

    This was my fourth year to work Black Friday, and thankfully I was able to only work it 8-5 because of seniority. I did have a customer (she showed up to our store at 12 am but decided to come back later) show me a video of customers waiting in a line that wrapped around the entire building. All for a dinky camera! I also asked a customer who had been shopping since 11 pm the night before (it was 2 pm the next day when I talked to her) if the sales were worth it, and she said no! Other than the few bargains at Walmart, I really don’t see the hype in Black Friday shopping. Companies continue sales throughout the holiday season in order to get traffic, so you’ll save money either way.

  7. Haley Pfaff says:

    I have never had the desire to shop on black friday. The video displays how ridiculous/ignorant people can become and how easily people are influence by others. I bet half these people wouldn’t have even cared about the waffle maker, even if it were still $2, but because others were going crazy over, they jumped in too.

  8. Cory Weeks says:

    It’s hard to believe events like this waffle maker fiasco actually happen in our country, but I can’t say I’m too surprised. This outrageous footage of extreme chaos over a discounted breakfast food maker (and all the other incidents that occurred) raises a more interesting point about the nature of Black Friday and consumer America. Can people really just be that obsessed about waffles? As delicious as they may be, it’s doubtful to be the cause. Instead, the enticing promise of the Black Friday deals instills shopping enthusiasm in consumers, even if the deal is for a product that they don’t need.

    In a sense, marketers have been able to create this Black Friday monster by making consumers think they need a product just because it’s on sale. How many of us will buy a second movie, pair of socks, or box of Cheeze-Its just to get the third for free even if we really don’t need it? Even though we do save money, we are spending more than we would have otherwise in the end, but so many of us fail to care about this just because we “got the best deal!” People are indeed spending money they don’t have for a dopamine-induced rush of seeing the price drop off at the register. Sales and promotions have a very strong grip on our spending behaviors. In a way, taking part in Black Friday savings or other sales makes consumers feel like they are beating the system, which is especially enticing during tough economic times.

    Another interesting dynamic to the popularity of Black Friday is the social element. The media has done a great job in getting consumer hyped up about something they probably don’t actually care about. The mob mentality is clearly at work in the waffle maker riot; it’s like a domino effect that makes people feel like they are missing out on this social experience and therefore spend money in order to relieve this tension and feel a part of the Black Friday experience. On a positive note, if a riot over breakfast food makers is our biggest concern, I’d say we’re in pretty good shape!

  9. jim_roberts says:

    Hello Cory. Thanks for the insightful comments and be sure to say “hi” to Drs. Manolis and Burns. Happy holidays.

  10. Anne-Claire Collins says:

    I have seen some serious verbal fights happen over black friday shopping! Me and my brothers go every Thanksgiving night just to see all of the crazy people!

  11. Derek Lewis says:

    Black Friday has completely gotten out of hand. I personally would never want to venture out to shop during this time. I believe that black friday is almost causing more harm than good in some ways

  12. Bobby Draughn says:

    It kills me to hear and see how people act on Black Friday. I am not that interested in the day at all. My parents have never been to excited about the day so I guess thats where I get it from. I have had a few conversations with my dad about this and he doesn’t think it’s worth even getting out and trying to fight with all the people just for a couple dollars off. Looking at some of the past incidents on a Black Friday, I don’t believe it is worth putting your life on the line just to get a cheaper deal. I think I will stick with just the usual deals that stores have here and there during the year then trying to fight with people early in the morning.

  13. Bobby Draughn says:

    It kills me to hear and see how people act on Black Friday. I am not that interested in the day at all. My parents have never been to excited about the day so I guess thats where I get it from. I have had a few conversations with my dad about this and he doesn’t think it’s worth even getting out and trying to fight with all the people just for a couple dollars off. Looking at some of the past incidents on a Black Friday, I don’t believe it is worth putting your life on the line just to get a cheaper deal. I think I will stick with just the usual deals that stores have here and there during the year then trying to fight with people early in the morning.

  14. Kristin Allinson says:

    I feel Black Friday is largely over rated. As someone who has only participated in black Friday shopping twice, the savings were minimal and weren’t worth the hassle of fighting crowds and long checkout lines. I can’t believe saving a few dollars could really influence civilized people to behave as primal vagabonds. There are plenty of deals and sales throughout the year that don’t require risking your life to partake in. For instance, I just saved over $300 during a President’s Day sale without having to risk being trampled.

  15. Allyson says:

    I cannot comprehend the fact that people would go to such extremes solely for a good deal. I understand that many Christmas presents are bought on Black Friday, but I also believe people will put themselves through the torture of fighting hundreds of other consumers (for a waffle maker) because of the competition and thrills that night brings. I have been to stores at midnight on Black Friday and it is a very exciting and interesting spectable to observe. The competitiveness of grabbing something before someone else does, or finding an even better deal, gives people a sense of excitement all while saving a lot of money. So even though our society is obsessed with “shiny objects”, I believe there are other factors to consider when trying to comprehend this crazy night.

  16. Adam Jackson says:

    Nether me nor my family have ever been part of the black fridays bargain hunters. I mean, I am always the looking for the best deal no matter what I am shopping for. I find the best prices on electronics, clothing and particularly textbooks. The Black Friday deals just aren’t worth it for me. I mean its hard enough for me to wake up early in the morning, and if I do I want to make sure it’s because I’m beating the crowds and traffic not trying to fight off another customer over a t.v that is $100 off. I understand that it is an important spending day and evaluative tool for analysts for their predictions of upcoming economic spending, but I don’t and wont become part of it. PLUS ITS MUCH EASIER TO WAIT FOR CYBER MONDAY 🙂

  17. That’s a good info, cheers.

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