Keep “Black Friday” sacred

I believe everything has a time and a place, just like the song “Turn, turn, turn” says.

Black Friday, for example, is one holy day in November when retailers voluntarily sacrifice their Blu-ray players on the altar of clearance for me. I, in turn, come in yielding the sacramental credit card and sever that Blu-ray from its big box store for the low, low price of $39.

But this year Black Friday stretched into a whole month of deals, possibly because retailers wanted to draw customers in earlier to make more sales. For those who didn’t want to wake up at 3 a.m. (or shop on Thanksgiving night), shopping a hair before the mad rush was quite a relief.

But nothing frosts my grits more than “Black Friday” in July sales. It is just. not. time.

From a retailer’s point of view, the phrase “Black Friday” can alert shoppers that, “Really! These prices are lower than a limbo contest!” But it is certainly not the time of year when retailers make the bulk of their income and return to black on the balance books — and therefore not an accurate use of the phrase.

Additionally, it’s offensive to me, because the July sales I have seen that tout themselves with the “Black Friday” label aren’t always a great deal. It’s as if the retailers don’t think I’m smart enough to figure it out.

I will grant that some of the offers are truly deals. For example, Target’s “Bonus Black Friday” sale starts this weekend, with the website advertising a 15.6-inch Acer Aspire laptop for $329 (currently on Amazon.com for $396.98.) But a few “doorbuster” deals aren’t enough to compete with the tidal wave of clearance we see in November.

This isn’t the first year early “Black Friday” sales have appeared — last year Target’s was an online-only operation, and Home Depot has experimented with a Spring Black Friday.

But non-November sales could easily be called something else. “July jubilee!” “Midsummer madness!” “Summer super sale!” I’m sure a brainstorming session over a few drinks could easily produce an alternative.

Retailers, it’s “time to cast away” this poor marketing technique. If you keep crying “Sale!” to us, eventually we won’t believe you when a wolf of a sale does come along.

Have you ever found a midsummer “Black Friday” sale comparable to those in November? Do you think this advertising technique is effective?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter


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8 comments Add your comment

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kt

July 20th, 2012
2:22 pm

I am going to check out Target’s “Black Friday” sale today, I’m looking for a good deal on a TV & it just happens to be “Black Friday”

shopper

July 20th, 2012
7:12 pm

I agree 100%!!! That is a ritual that I look forward to. There is nothing like the adrenalin pumping at 5 am sales paper in hand with bff’s looking for that most awesome deal. Don’t take all the joy out of Christmas shopping I mean its bad enough that I am already seeing Christmas decoration on the shelves.

Matt H

July 21st, 2012
12:35 am

This is exactly why JCPenney ended sales. They all ran together so much that no one paid attention. Of course now everyone still complains, despite the lower prices overall. People would rather see an item priced at $50 and use sales and coupons to get it down to $20 rather than see it simply listed for $20 everyday. Retail marketers have the public wrapped around their fingers.

Tiffany

July 21st, 2012
9:44 am

I agree with Matt H. People are not aware how much they have been brainwashed by marketing. It is only a deal if the word “sale” is attached or you have to “work the coupons” to achieve said deal. I like the no-gimmick JCPenney philosophy and have acutally started shopping there since it began. A culture of brainwashed shoppers frightens me terribly. I agree 100% with capitalism, but I would like to see the consumers think for themselves before buying. We don’t buy Apple products at our house because of this marketing mania. Why pay hundreds extra for something when all I am doing is absorbing the advertising costs with my purchase price? There are a plethora of comparable non-Apple products for less $, but people have heard their marketing so much that the name brand is all that exists in their world – even if they ask a salesperson!

I will continue to think for myself. Now, I just need to find an auto-maker that doesn’t over advertise. I buy a car because I like the way it looks when I see it on the road. I hate that I pay a mark-up (if I were to buy a brand new car) to absorb the company’s advertising.

The “black Friday” tagline is working for the retailer, so they will continue to use it. That’s the way an uninformed public operates. The editorial mentions, “It’s as if the retailers don’t think I’m smart enough to figure it out.” Sadly, most people are not!

nelsonh

July 21st, 2012
10:03 pm

Black friday is fine with me, whether it is in July or December or November.
Business is business. I think of sacred in reference to Christmas and Easter. Sacred loses it meaning if it is used for any sales holiday.

Sammie

July 22nd, 2012
5:06 pm

The notion of a sale as as “sacred” is just silly.

Shark Punch!

July 22nd, 2012
6:43 pm

There is nothing “sacred” about throngs of angry shoppers fighting each other for the best deal on material goods that they probably don’t need anyway. I’d rather wade through a horde of zombies carrying a sack full of fresh brains than get anywhere near a Black Friday sale.