Black Friday: Is it worth the price?
Last Wednesday, Nov. 21, the paper was filled with inserts featuring the sales to come on Black Friday. While the turkey was roasting, many Americans mapped out the list of shops and items needed, waiting with anticipation for the stores to open and sales to become available online. This year, sales started as early as 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Participating in history, Americans made this Black Friday sale one to remember. According to Adobe Analytics, U.S. retailers earned a record breaking $6.22 billion in online sales, up 23.6 percent from a year ago. The new high was based on transactions for 80 of the top 100 Internet retailers in the country such as Walmart and Amazon. Black Friday this year also set a new standard becoming the first day in history to see more than $2 billion in sales stemming from smartphones. Producing a lighter crowd in the stores, retailers were able to use websites to their advantage. Walmart offered free shipping for any orders over $35. Best Buy, Target, and other retailers offered free store pick-up, discouraging the long lines outside of stores. With more tuning into the online sales, there still were some that took part in the around the clock holiday sales. Marvin’s in Greenville opened at 6 a.m. offering a free scratch off savings ornament for the first 100 customers. Walmart in Greenville opened at 6 p.m. on Thursday night organizing lines for customers inside the stores around the items.
But despite the positive outcomes for retailers from online shoppers, stores still dealt with disturbances and even deaths this sales day. One incident in particular occurred closer to home than expected. According to CNN on Thanksgiving night, a shooting occurred at the Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham resulting in one death and two injuries. Beginning with a fight and ending with the death of a 21-year-old gunman and two injured under the age of eighteen, the question is: are the sales worth it? Is hosting the Thanksgiving dinner around the shopping schedule worth the price?
Imagine going on a shopping spree and not returning with one of your loved ones. My heart aches for the families of these individuals this season, and my hope is only that we consider the price tags on certain gifts, especially the gift of life. The sales are enticing, but the holidays should be a time to treasure the ones we love most. So this Christmas, let’s focus more on the people around the table, rather than the gifts around the tree.