Black Friday Shopping | BCBusiness

Black Friday Shopping | BCBusiness
Shopping events like Black Friday and Boxing Day aren't for the well-being of the economy, they're a therapeutic activity for consumers.

Like our Boxing Day, the Black Friday shopping blitz isn't just about providing great deals. It's more like retail therapy for the scared and angry consumer.

The shopping phenomenon that’s called Black Friday, Small Business Thursday, and Cyber Monday certainly had big retailers giving thanks this past weekend in the U.S.

Some $53 billion was dropped on retailers through the biggest shopping period of the U.S. calendar. I know – on Thanksgiving?

On our Thanksgiving, we usually have over friends or family for a meal and some warm and fuzzies. In the U.S., apparently, they get all warm and fuzzy over shopping.  

Maybe not everyone, however. There were a few shootings, pepper spraying incidents, and brawls around the U.S. as more than 200 million people battled it out for deep discounts on... well... stuff.

Anyone who knows me is probably aware that I’m not a big fan of shopping as spirit-booster, especially when gunplay is involved. But then I’m not American and could never quite understand the Americans’ love for rampant consumerism.

I must admit that even my eyes went big when I saw some of those discounts. Heck, I almost undid the three locks on the safe in which I usually keep my credit card.

But then reason prevailed. I recognized that record retail sales over the Thanksgiving weekend probably means a retail famine in the months to come.  

No company, big or small, can live on one big weekend – especially if their stores are being swarmed by an army eager to get their hands on big-screen TVs and other gadgets that are sold at deep deep discounts.  

This is especially so if those discounts are going to result in them losing money, which they often do. If they’re big and lucky they’ll make it back in the month or so remaining in the year. But I wouldn’t count on it.

No, the Thanksgiving weekend is not when the mighty consumer lifts the U.S. from its economic funk, despite what some shallow analysis says.

Neither is Boxing Day in Canada, when retailers unload all their old stuff for low, low prices.

These mad shopping events aren’t held to make a retailer money. They’re held to make you, the consumer, feel good about yourself and, in turn, come back and make regular-price purchases.

But you probably won’t.

American consumers, like the Canadian ones, are currently tapped out and scared. They may indulge in some soul-soothing spending at low-cost events like Black Friday or Boxing Day, but they’ll sober up and start penny-pinching again.  

These discount days aren’t an economic revival. They’re entertainment to take your mind off your troubles.