I am not sure why all the big stores try to open at ungodly hours on black friday. Why can't they just start their sale at the regular time? I know customers are crazy about these sales and line up from the evening before but then why not start the sale on friday evening? While trying to outdo each other, some store are now trying to open on Thursday and killing the workers in the process. Any idea why?
All the "good deals" are gone in a few hours anyway. So why the rush to open early?
This has long been a mystery to me. Maybe someone with a background in retail can explain it. I've never gone to one of these Black Friday sales, and frankly, you couldn't pay me to get up at 3:00am and get in line to fight those crowds just for a $300 television. I just saw a news article where a lady camped out in front of a Best Buy last week. The store security told her to go home and come back on Thanksgiving. Crazy.
And as for opening on Thursday, even if I were a crazy Black Friday shopper, I would make it a point NOT to shop at any store that opened on Thanksgiving Day. That's a day meant for family, and whenever possible, people should be at home spending that day with family.
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home" ~ Ken Olson, Co-founder of DEC, 1977
I work in an office over a Best Buy. I saw two people with tents already camped out.
I died just a little inside.
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I don't necessarily blame the customers for camping days in advance. If you have nothing better to do, waiting in line for a day to save 100s of dollars, is probably worth it. For a person who is jobless, that's like an earning of 100$+. An high school kid, who probably would have spent that time on a game console, will probably value his gadget more, if he sits in line for 10 hours to get it. The other day, I saw a documentary about extreme couponing. This woman spends all her time collecting and organizing coupons and then buys hundreds of dollars of groceries for like less than $10. Sounds like a full time job to me and if you don't have anything better to do, nothing wrong in doing it.
I am sure there is a sound financial reason why stores do it. I just don't know what it is. One reason I can think of is that the store wants to get as many shoppers in the store first and make them spend all their money there itself. So the shoppers have nothing left to spend in other stores. Hence the rush to be the first one to open. Classic example of race to the bottom. Not sure if that is indeed the reason though.
It's been a bit of a progression. Thanksgiving is always on Thursday, and most people get the following Friday off as well, though it's not actually a holiday. Thanksgiving being over, people naturally start to think of Christmas, and so they decide to start their shopping early to "beat the crowds". Retailers noticed this and started having sales to attract the shoppers to them. It's only recently that Black Friday has taken on a sort of savage mythology, with people standing in line, stampeding each other, and maybe adding pepper spray. Now it's a boon not only to retail, but to yellow journalists as well. I'll be far from the mall, but I might tune in the news to see how this year's atrocities compare to last year's.
The reason why retailers don't start having sales when people start lining up is because they are literally not ready for the sale. There's a lot that goes on to ready a store for a sale.
However, they might consider starting the sale earlier next year. Ultimately, there is a trade off between the cost of opening the store earlier and the profits earned from the customers waiting in line. If enough people line up, it becomes profitable for the store to start the sale earlier. When I first came to the US, most stores used to start the sale at 6AM. Now it;s midnight, I believe. Not too sure. I try not to leave the house on Black Friday