Black Friday never fails to make headlines in the following morning’s newspapers—shoppers scramble for hot deals, hoodlums occasionally resort to violence to get an unfair advantage, and the status of an entire economic system is given a 4 AM gut check as bleary-eyed analysts cull statistics from across the board.
On a national scale, Black Friday sales were higher this year than the last, with Shopper Track reporting that Black Friday sales were 6.6% higher than last year. In addition, the National Retail Federation estimates that the average shopper spent $400 dollars during this national event. Between 2008 and 2009, Black Friday sales only increased by 0.3%, and so this year’s figures may indicate a broad-scale improvement in the economy.
Sales figures between individual stores varied, with factors such as early (i.e. midnight!) start times and big, flashy promotional deals affecting where the masses of shoppers focused their attention. Kohl's Corp., J.C. Penney Co. and Gap Inc. all posted disappointing sales—JC Penney even suffered the self-inflicted misfortune of opening at 4 AM, long after all-night shoppers had headed out to sniff out hot deals and compete for prime position outside store entryways.
However, high-end markets, predictably enough, remained insulated from recent stock market anxiety, and luxury retailers such as Saks Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. all posted impressive numbers as affluent shoppers remained unimpeded in offering such chains their patronage.
Overall, for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, customers spent a whopping $52.4 billion. Impressively, the NRF estimates that this was 16% more than a year earlier.
However, despite the apparent economic victory, Black Friday was not without its, pardon the pun, blacker elements. Violent offenders wielded everything from pepper-spray canisters to handguns as they attempted to double their savings in less-than-legal ways. Sacramento, California saw a man viciously stabbed outside a mall by local gang members amidst the Black Friday tumult. San Leandro, California didn’t enjoy a non-violent Black Friday either, as a robber shot a local shopper who refused to surrender his recent purchases. The victim was hospitalized following the incident, the resulting wound having left him in critical but stable condition.
The upper echelons of society didn’t escape Black Friday violence and chaos either. A Walmart in a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles saw a crazed shopper douse a crowd of 20 in pepper spray, resulting in minor injuries and prematurely-ended shopping ventures. Unsurprisingly, the woman’s violent actions were motivated by self-interest, as she attempted to gain a violent upper-hand in securing bargains on consumer electronics products. The woman escaped amidst the uproar of red faces and stinging eyes, and Walmart remains unsure whether she succeeded in procuring an all-too-costly Xbox.
Janeth Cutestory is an economics major out of Cal Tech. He promote a website to find phone numbers like the xbox support number.