Last year, on the day after Thanksgiving, the stampede of discount-crazed shoppers seeking Black Friday sales got so ugly that one Walmart employee was trampled to death. This year, Walmart and other discount giants are adopting a more humane solution: Start Black Friday–type sales early and extend them for weeks. Will the strategy help the U.S. economy bounce back — or maybe even save lives? (Watch a report about Walmart toning down Black Friday)
It's a great idea — kudos to Walmart: The Arkansas-based retailer should be commended, says Kim Peterson at MSN's Smart Spending. In this economy, shoppers are even more desperate than usual to snag the best deals, so the potential for disaster has been "ratcheted up a notch." Extending the sales should help create both holiday cheer and profits.
"Trampling Not Allowed"
Black Friday will always be crazy: The retailer's new strategy should help wake up recession-dazed shoppers, says David Grant in The Christian Science Monitor, but its stores will still be mobbed the day after Thanksgiving, when the real glut of sales arrives. Besides, plotting the morning's shopping deals, pitching tents, and "charging through the store's open doors" on Black Friday have become a holiday "rite of passage."
"Black Friday 2009: Are Black Friday’s years numbered?"
Black Friday is dead forever — long live discount shopping: Shop on Black Friday if you like the ritual, says Mike Elgan at Datamation, but smartphones and Twitter now allow shoppers to comparison shop on the spot, rendering retailers' "lure 'em in with amazing deals, then get them to buy other stuff" strategy useless. Why go into the fray when "you can now find incredible deals every day and everywhere?"
"Who Killed Black Friday?"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF BLACK FRIDAY:
• Black Friday: Will shoppers show?
• How to beat the Black Friday mobs
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- The danger of the Democrats' lack of desperation
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
Subscribe to the Week