As a former PR/Marketing gal for a large department store chain, I can say with full confidence that on Black Friday, the American public is being duped--roped in like mass cattle and led to the retail slaughter by hungry merchants. It's a hoax that is right up there with International Flavors and Fragrances piping wafting cinnamon smells through malls and every other merchandising tactic that gets you to spend, spend, spend.
My teenage daughter was up at 4 am (yeah, she woke me!) getting ready to get the "best deals ever!" "Um, no," I told her as I wiped my bleary eyes. "The best deals EVER will be when all the stuff the department stores can't sell go on clearance the day after Christmas."
"No, Mom, you're wrong," she said as she and her friend headed out to the mall.
Yes, she came back with boots "that used to be $130 and were ONLY $70" and another pair that cost $20 - but were clearance. She's tired but happy, so I guess she got what she wanted - the hunt, the kill, the suede boots to show for it. I'm tired, and crabby, and I still say Black Friday is a hoax.
Hans Sternberg, author of We Were Merchants (www.weweremerchants.com) who was CEO of Goudchaux's and Maison Blanche, a large family-owned and operated department store chain, once the largest in the nation, says, "If you think that Black Friday is joy for the retailers, wait until you see what happens on December 12th, two Saturdays before Christmas. That is the busiest shopping day of the year."
The only reason he gives for anyone going out on Black Friday (since the doorbuster bargains are so limited that only the truly zealous and maniacal will walk away with those), is that inventories this year will be limited. Sternberg says that if you are shopping for a specific item in a specific size or color, you may be hard-pressed to find it closer to Christmas.
But from my experience mining the well-endowed clearance racks at the retailer I used to work for, I can tell you that the best bargains are yet to come AFTER Christmas, and the time to shop is certainly not when mall traffic is ridiculous, checkout lines are around-the-corner and up the escalator, and when shoppers and sales associates aren't stupefied from tryptophen-turkey fever combined with zero sleep on the night after Thanksgiving.