Today marks the beginning of the end for Black Friday as a cultural event as big retailers shift their attention away from one-day sales. At Target, for example, the only exclusive Black Friday offer is ten percent off the store’s gift cards. And at Walmart, pre-holiday sales are scheduled to last the whole month of November.
Last year’s Black Friday, which saw purchases drop by fourteen percent, certainly encouraged retailers to reevaluate their emphasis on a single day of sales. With the rise of on-demand services, American consumers expect deals to be convenient (rather than massively inconvenient, waking up early to risk life and limb).
The Atlantic‘s Megan Garber argues that while the shift toward weekend or month-long sales demonstrates the complete immersion of Black Friday into American culture, taking focus off a single day is good. As it stands, Black Friday is a day of ritualized judgement, says Garber:
“Black Friday stands, both temporally and culturally, in stark contrast to Thanksgiving, which is not a Hallmark holiday so much as a Williams-Sonoma one, and which involves, among other things, people who can afford heritage turkeys and vessels designed solely to pour gravy congratulating themselves on how wonderfully non-commercial the whole thing is. ‘All that for a flat screen,’ they say, drinking their wine and shaking their heads.”
South Korean chef David Chang thinks that some of America’s odder cultural traditions, which focus on overconsumption and waste, are directly related to the abundance of it economy:
Read more at the Atlantic
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