The Evolution of Black Friday
By Anna Konen
It is Friday, November 28th, 2008, at 7am and you and your mom are standing outside the entrance of the American Girl Doll store bundled up trying to make sure you can get your hands on the Kit Kittredge doll your little sister has been BEGGING Santa for, for the past 3 months.
Fast forward six years and you and your older sister get to go to the mall by yourself this year, your alarm clock rings at 4am and you jump out of bed excited to get your hands on the newest perfume and lip-gloss combo that Victoria’s Secret is dropping today.
It is now Thanksgiving Day, 2018, and you are suffering through a Thanksgiving dinner with your family watching time go by so slowly, it feels like your eyes may be playing a trick on you. Your friends have plans to meet up and go Black Friday Shopping all night long, camping out if you need to. But you will not need to; most stores are open the night of Thanksgiving now. Your adrenaline is pumping as you break through the doors to your first stop of the night, but that could also be due to the 5-hour energy you took in the parking lot.
Friday, November 25th, 2022. You wake up to your alarm clock set for 10am, and you sit in bed scrolling on your phone. You are not in any rush, and you will not even make it outside your house today. All your holiday shopping has been done since last Monday, the deals started WEEKS ago, and if you forgot something, you know the stores will be having sales for at least another 5 days. You have nothing to worry about. As you lay in bed, your camera roll is full of memories from previous Black Friday’s, before the internet took over and ruined one of your favorite days of the year.
Some may argue that a digital Black Friday is a good thing. You no longer have to worry about missing time with your family or getting in line at 3am. Others say that the internet Black Friday is worse, making the overconsumption of low-quality goods that you may use three times in your life far too accessible.
Over the past twenty years, the change in culture and attitude surrounding Black Friday has changed immensely. What used to be a fun time going shopping with family and older siblings turned into one of the most stressful times of the year. People went from being all about the holiday spirit to willingly getting into fistfights over who gets the last television that is on sale at Best Buy. People with retail jobs were dragged away from their families to fulfill the consumerism mindset of Americans who simply could not get enough.
However, just a few years later, we are seeing the attitudes towards Black Friday change yet again. Before the pandemic, people were all about doing whatever it took to get the best deal on their family's gifts. After the pandemic, and popularity rising surrounding in – app and online shopping in the past three years, Cyber Monday deals have greatly surpassed those seen on Black Friday. While Black Friday sales last only one day, the Cyber deals last nearly the entire month of November. This gives people both more time to shop and increased time spent with their families during the holiday season. While this transition to online shopping is great for many reasons, the adrenaline rush of in-person shopping and racing to ransack the shelves of Brick-and-Mortar stores is missed by many.