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Black Friday Now Starts on Thursday. Welcome To The Mayhem!

Black Thursday

Black Friday. A few of us were talking about it at lunch earlier this week and we honestly don’t remember it being a ‘thing’ back in the dark ages when we were growing up (the 1960’s and 70’s for reference) I remember my mom going shopping the day after Christmas to stock up on holiday close outs, but never the day after Thanksgiving.

Over the past decade or so, retailers have used the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season with the lure of cheap electronics and appliances to get people into their stores. It worked. People would start camping out at places like Best Buy shortly after Thanksgiving dinner to be first in line when the store would open at 6am Friday.

Over the past few years, even that changed. Stores started bumping up the open to 5am, 4am, even midnight. This year, Black Friday started at 5pm THURSDAY.

Lots of people became outraged that retail stores were now going to take people away from their families to try to make a buck. And I can see that side of things. But I’ve worked every Thanksgiving for the past 27 years. I don’t remember anyone feeling sorry for me (not that I expected it either) But I have friends and family that are working at the Fire Department, Police Department, hospitals, restaurants, and certainly my brothers and sisters in radio today so there’s already a lot of us away from loved ones and I know I’ll have time to spend with them this weekend and next month, so I’m OK with working today. Heck, my alarm is set for 4am Friday as I will be out doing a live appearance at a retailer on Friday morning starting at 6 too.

So after working Thursday, I thought I’d at least drive by Target and Walmart on my way home just to see if all the people who said they were boycotting shopping on Thursday in hopes the retailers would change their ways next year.

It didn’t work.

Both lots were overfilled. At Walmart on Louise Avenue, people were parking at Barnes & Noble, Chili’s and Sam’s Club because the main lot was already full. But my wife had her eye on a few items that were being offered and so to make her happy (and as all you married men know, if mama ain’t happen, no one is happy haha) I parked at Sam’s Club and wandered into the fray.

There were a LOT of people there but the workers were friendly and helpful. The patrons, for the most part, were not the maniacs I remembered the last time we wandered into the craziness 10 years ago as we were just getting back into town from Iowa from our Thanksgiving. On that morning, I saw people getting knocked over for $15 griddles.

Ironically, small appliances were on my list again this year as in the past few weeks, our crock pot, DVD player and waffle maker all died. $35 blu-ray players and $9.77 for a crock pot and waffle maker (each) was enough to see if I could be patient enough to complete my shopping. I got in, got my ‘need’ items, added a couple of ‘want’ items, only because they were on my path through the store, got in the little hamster maze they have set up to get to the registers, and I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

The rest of our shopping for friends and family will likely be done on Small Business Saturday as there are a LOT of really cool locally owned shops here in Sioux Falls that have great gift ideas. But to keep peace at home, I ventured out on the newly dubbed Black Thursday, and lived to tell about it.

Happy bargain hunting!

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