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by on November 21, 2011

Black Friday — that ugliest and most desperate of shopping days, in which consumers buck all self-respect and dignity while elbowing each other about the face and throat to secure the lowest price on a crock pot — is once again upon us. Analysts are predicting this to be the blackest  Black Friday in history, with sales for the first time reaching $20 billion. With dollar signs in their eyes, retailers are planning to be as accommodating as possible to separate you from your hard-earned money before the turkey even gets a chance to settle in your colon. Happy Holidays!

Sweating the Shop: Nervous Retailers Gear up for Black Friday

Wal-Mart is opening at 10 pm on Thanksgiving, but before then, the megachain will give shoppers the chance to sign up for a preview of its Black Friday catalogue. Right on its heels is Macy’s, which will open at midnight on Black Friday with hundreds of “doorbuster” sales. Sears decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving this year – “There was a sentiment from customers to keep Thanksgiving as a holiday,” (of all the concepts) according to a division vice president — but will offer scannable billboards around the country to encourage mobile shopping. Ignoring Sears and their observance of Turkey Day, Gap Inc. will open 1,000 stores this Thursday, 800 alone of which are Old Navys.

Despite the extended store hours and doorbustery promotions, the appeal of Black Friday is waning. “The ‘big day’ isn’t the ‘big day’ anymore,” David Bassuk, managing director and head of AlixPartners told WWD. “It’s been diluted with earlier and earlier hours and even Brown Thursdays. There’s still some allure to getting up early and hunting for bargains, but we’re starting to see more and more retailers who are telling the consumer, ‘Stay home and get your sleep. We’ll send you what you need so you can still get the best deal.’”

What’s more disturbing: the fact that retailers are so desperate to make Christmas dough they’ve created a Brown Thursday or the fact that they insist on calling it “Brown Thursdays?” And will you indulge in the shopping frenzy this Friday or will you be too busy fighting your way through a turkey coma? [WWD]


Contributed by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail

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