Break out your tents, break out your lawn chairs, break out your wallets and break out your determination. Black Friday and the season for holiday shopping is upon us.
Black Friday is next week, but stores are already preparing. The day after Thanksgiving is when many stores have their biggest sales of the year. For the past few years, however, stores have begun opening Thanksgiving night because it has been such a consistent success. It’s known to be the busiest shopping day of the year.
The term “Black Friday” comes from an accounting term. When a company is in the “red,” it means the store isn’t making a profit. However, when the store is making a profit, it is said to be in the “black.” It is a day when retail stores end the night with a significant profit.
In the 1960s, retail giants opened their doors early Friday morning, around 6 a.m. In recent years, they have started to usher in the hoards of people earlier each year—3 a.m., 5 a.m., midnight and even Thanksgiving night.
This year, several stores are opening earlier than they did last Thanksgiving.
Adam Cummings, sales manager and supervisor at J. C. Penney in the Brea Mall, said this is the second year that the store will open on Thanksgiving. Last year, they opened at 8 p.m. This choice is often based on competitiveness with similar stores.
“This year, Macy’s announced they were going to open at 6 p.m., so we want to get the drop on Macy’s and open up at 5 p.m. that day,” Cummings said.
However, Black Friday shopping isn’t for the faint of heart.
In the past eight years, there have been a total of 90 injuries and seven deaths related to shopping in the United States on Black Friday. The most recent death was last year when a teen driving home from Black Friday shopping fell asleep at the wheel and was killed in the wreck. Two out of the seven deaths occurred after crowds trampled a worker and a shopper to death once the stores opened their doors. One was in New York, the other in West Virginia.
The most recent Black Friday injury in California was the stabbing of a man in Carlsbad, according to NBC.
Cummings witnessed instances during his shift on Black Friday last year.
“There was actually a fight between two customers, which is the first I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Two guys were just looking at each other the wrong way in the children’s department, of all places. It was an hour after (the store opened) and it was packed. There were spectators. It was crazy.”
Workers are not the only people who notice the chaos that occurs.
Sandy Maxfield, who describes herself as a “savvy shopper,” said she had a bad experience at Walmart several years ago.
She spent the night on the sidewalk with her sister before Walmart opened for its sales to buy a laptop. When it opened, the order of the line diminished. Shoppers got out of line and rushed to another side of the store to beat the crowd. A riot ensued and the police were called to the store.
Maxfield said it wasn’t a good experience.
Perhaps this overwhelming scene is what may keep people from shopping on Black Friday. It’s estimated that only 40 percent of Americans will shop on Black Friday this year compared to the 46 percent last year, according to CNN.
Some states have even banned Thanksgiving shopping by prohibiting stores from opening on Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island have passed laws and regulations banning retailers from opening on both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The stores planning on opening their doors on Thanksgiving are Walmart, Kmart, Sears, Macy’s, J. C. Penney, Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Staples, Sports Authority, Toys R Us, Big Lots and Radio Shack.