I was going to make this a humorous article about Black Friday and our experience today. But after reading a few very judgmental and rude comments written by readers in response to one of the news items posted about today’s Black Friday in Fort Wayne on our local CBS affiliate station’s web site, I decided a few of my own opinions and observations were in order.
Granted, Black Friday isn’t something for everyone. Many people would rather endure a root canal without any anesthetic. Or something akin to that. They sure don’t want to be out in the fray.
But, these are hard economic times we are still experiencing in our area. The latest figures for unemployment released last week for the Fort Wayne metropolitan area is 9.5%. When one figures that the unemployment rate is actually down, it’s still quite abysmal for an area this size to still be experiencing such a tight employment market.
Most of the people I saw at midnight at Wal Mart were not there for the big ticket items. Most of them were everyday people–young parents, grandparents, family teams of all ages–there to save a few dollars.
The atmosphere for the most part reflected a camaraderie among all of these strangers. For whatever reasons compelled us to sacrifice a night’s sleep to shop, we were there for the same reasons–to pick up good bargains at the beginning of the holiday shopping season while selection was still good.
While we hear horror stories of people stampeding into stores, jostling for position, rudeness, and even injuries and death as a result of what the media portrays as extreme greed, my experience of this particular Black Friday soiree was positive for the most part.
Most of the people were decent to each other. People were helping each other at the displays–handing items to those who could not reach them. They were in good spirits and were respectful and followed the rules of the store not to break into the displays early. Not your picture of the greedy, frenzied hoards we typically associate with this shopping experience.
What I read on the WANE TV site was, as I mentioned earlier, very judgmental and biased against the shoppers in particular. Scathing commentaries about selfishness, greed, and morons.
My take is that no one is breaking anyone’s arms to go out shopping on Black Friday. The simple fact is that at the stores I went to–Wal Mart, Target, and Lowe’s–people were there to buy for their families. They overwhelmingly were there buying clothing, toys, other gifts from what I could see in their carts.
One very opinionated person kept trying to compare the people at Wal Mart with the people at Best Buy, stating that the people were there only to buy for themselves and could care less about their children or other family members. That simply wasn’t the case at the time I was there. At 12 Midnight, no big ticket electronics items were being offered. They would not go on sale for at least five more hours.
Would I do it again? Yes and no. Depends on how I feel at the time and what my financial circumstances are. I didn’t have a bad experience. And, this is not the first time I’ve done the Black Friday shopping spree. But, that is not the point.
People should look beyond their perceptions and consider that everyone has their motivations for going out on this first big retail shopping day of the Christmas Season. To lump everyone as being motivated by greed, selfishness, or being stupid or moronic is in itself a very narrow minded and shortsighted viewpoint.
So much for holiday cheer and goodwill.