Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fade to Black

Black Friday is the name given to the day following Thanksgiving Day, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 am, or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season. 

Black Friday is not an official US holiday, but many non-retail employers also observe this day as a holiday along with Thanksgiving, giving their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year.
The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit for the year, or are finally "in the black".
For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 am, but recently many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme last year when several retailers (including Target, Kohls, Macy's, and Best Buy) opened at midnight for the first time. This year, Walmart led several other retailers in announcing it would open its stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, prompting calls for a walkout among some workers.
Black Friday is now the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Black Sunday??? You can go online today buying anything that you want at "Black Friday" pricing. You can make your purchase via your iPad, and pick up at the store at your convenience. What's next? Are we going to just jump to Black November? Why not just make the entire month of November "black" and be done with it?

Now I have an idea.  
Every year when I pay my taxes, I am asked if I would like to donate $1 to the Presidential Campaign fund. I always say yes, out of fear that someone at the IRS is flagging all returns that say no. 

This year, why not have all online stores do the same?  Ask: "Would you like to donate $1 to Hurricane Sandy Relief"?  You are already shopping online. You are saving gas, tolls, parking. You are saving shipping fees and sales tax by shopping online. Think about it. 

$1 vs. the billions of dollars that will be spent online between now and Christmas. One single dollar would not be missed. One hundred pennies. What would this money do for the families that have been devastated by the storm? The money generated for those who need it the most would be truly amazing. If we used last years numbers, $1 times 226m equals just short of a quarter of a billion dollars raised for Hurricane Sandy relief in one single day. In one day!

The National Retail Federation releases figures on the sales for each Thanksgiving weekend.
YearDateSurvey PublishedShoppers, millionsAverage SpendTotal SpendConsumers PolledMargin for Error
2011Nov 24Nov 27226m$398.62$52.5 billion3,8261.6%
2010Nov 25Nov 28212m$365.34$45.0 billion4,3061.5%
2009Nov 26Nov 29195m$343.31$41.2 billion4,9851.4%
2008Nov 27Nov 30172m$372.57$41.0 billion3,3701.7%
2007Nov 22Nov 25147m$347.55n/a2,3951.5%
2006Nov 23Nov 26140m$360.15n/a3,0901.5%
2005Nov 24Nov 27n/a$302.81n/an/an/a
Now, I would love to see Amazon, Best Buy and everyone else make this an option at online shopping cart check out. I would like to see this option at every cash register in the retails stores as well. In 2011, we spent $52.5 billion on Black Friday. The average person spent $398.62 on Black Friday last year. This year, it will be even more. 

It might be too late for this $1 donation idea to take off. This year, the Capone household will keep track of what we spend on Black Friday. We will then send a nice donation to the Red Cross and to Catholic Charities USA. The Capone clan will be saving a ton of money on Black Friday, and we can't send some of that savings to those who have lost everything? Ahem. 

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