Isn’t one Black Friday enough?

DR. JAMES B. EWERS JR. | 11/21/2019, 11:58 a.m.
I am not a professional shopper. In other words, I am not on the hunt for a deal.
Shopping mall Pixabay

I am not a professional shopper. In other words, I am not on the hunt for a deal. If I get a deal, I am happy. If not, I keep on pushing, not really fazed. Chasing sales is something I don’t do. If it works for you then I am happy for you. Get after it!

While I’m not a member of a shopping club, I do know about Black Friday. Historically, it comes the day after Thanksgiving. People line up at stores shortly after midnight and wait for the stores to open sometimes as early as 5 a.m. Stores set up these huge price savings for us and we jump at the chance to save a lot of money.

For example, televisions selling for $300 might be on sale for $150. That is a pretty good price so that is why we have Thanksgiving crumbs on our mouth and still rush to get in line.

In my most recent memory, Black Friday is celebrated with great fanfare. Television and radio advertisements tease us with these great deals. As usual, we as consumers take the bait. We have our coats on at the Thanksgiving dinner table and our cars running so we won’t be late.

But do we know the true origins of Black Friday? It seems Black Friday had its beginning with the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. History says Jay Gould and Jim Fisk were trying to buy up all of the gold. They were said to be crooked and had Wall Street ties. But now we celebrate Black Friday as a way of saving money not stealing it.

The National Retail Federation estimates millions of people will shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. This year’s Black Friday will be celebrated on Nov. 29. Get your charge cards, checks, debit cards and cash ready for this shopping free-for-all. For most of the years, retailers operate in the red. Black Friday weekend is a time when businesses will get a windfall. They will have an economic blast!

I watch “Perry Mason” on television. You remember him, don’t you? During commercial breaks, one national store in particular will come on and say they have the biggest sale of the season. Mind you now, it’s not Thanksgiving or any other holiday. The funny thing about this store is they say the same thing almost every month. I believe we can rest our nerves because their Black Friday sale will be the biggest sale of the year.

However, we have some Black Friday imposters creeping into the traditional Black Friday affair. What you talking ’bout Willis? Major stores are advertising Black Friday sales and it is not even Thanksgiving. These sales under the auspices of Black Friday have been going on since Halloween. What is happening? Are these miniature versions of the real and true Black Friday event?

American stores are champing at the bit to entice and influence us. Should we buy now or buy later? Some of us are on budgets so our money is tight. We cannot do what I call random sale shopping (RSS). If you want to take advantage of this new Black Friday, why not just use layaway. Now layaway is truly an old school term and method of shopping.

Back in the day, you could layaway almost anything. You could go to the store, put $15 on that new bicycle and pay $3 per week until it was paid in full. In my opinion, layaway is not used as much these days. So, I am unsure about this new Black Friday. I am sticking with the traditional Black Friday which begins in a few weeks.

Happy shopping!

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr. is a youth advocate, consultant, author and president emeritus of the Teen Mentoring Committee (TMC) of Ohio and alumni of Johnson C. Smith University.