The Vermont Cynic

Reflection on Black Friday

Nicole Morris, Staff Writer

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Though campus was deserted for Thanksgiving break, the Church Street shopping scene was still crowded for Black Friday.

Black Friday fell on Nov. 24 this year, hitting the consumer world again as the unofficial holiday opportunity for some major discount shopping since the 1960s, according to blackfriday.com.

The day after Thanksgiving became the popularized commencement of Christmas and winter holiday shopping as retailers realized they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, according to the website.

However, students like first-year Julia Rothstein point out that Black Friday is not merely about getting those holiday gifts at 50 percent off.

The focus of Black Friday is on the deals and the profit retailers make, but there are negative aspects to the system, Rothstein said.

“Making retail workers do so much extra work on Black Friday seems like a cruelty done in the name of heartless capitalism,” she said.

Over 200 top retailers participate in the holiday sales but not all stores are slashing prices, according to blackfriday.com.

“I think a better idea is the companies like REI who close all their stores on Black Friday in the name of their #OptOutside campaign,” Rothstein said. “It makes REI look good on social media while encouraging people to do a healthy thing in spending time in the great outdoors and it saves their workers a lot of headache.”

REI’s website states that for their #OptOutside campaign, they give their 12,000 employees a paid day off on Black Friday.

However, the consumer pull isn’t limited to just one day, with early access deals, weekend savings and online sales for Cyber Monday forming what is now called the “Black Friday creep,” according to a Nov. 2012 CNN article.

The article states that the drive for extended shopping hours is in the hands of the consumers, giving more opportunities for discounts, but taking time away from retail employees that would otherwise be spent with families.

Cyber Monday sales grew to a record $6.59 billion this year, beating out Black Friday profits despite the fact that Cyber Monday started in only 2005.

“I finished half my Christmas shopping on Black Friday,” first-year Faith Shorman said. “But the crowds in Boston got overwhelming toward the end, so I waited it out and finished everything else on Cyber Monday. Much less stressful and mostly free shipping.”

Another facet of the Black Friday shopping season is Small Business Saturday.

Started in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to go to local, non-corporate stores, fueling the economy and creating local business and culture.

Throughout Burlington, both major and local businesses benefit from the buzz around the commencement of holiday shopping season.

So after an explosive start, Vermont shoppers can go back to hitting up their local shops, seeking out those perfect gifts and enjoying the crisp winter air.

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Reflection on Black Friday