Black Friday may be the biggest shopping day of the year, but even the name connotes how unpleasant it is — it comes from cops in Philadelphia bemoaning the hoards of cars clogging the streets as shoppers rushed to mob department stores.
Every year we hear about riots, stampedes and brawls when shoppers get hopped-up on discounts. So why do people still participate in Black Friday when it's tamer online brother, Cyber Monday, exists?
Started just a couple of years ago, Cyber Monday is supposed to be the online retailers’ version of Black Friday. But with more and more Black Friday deals now available online, the two consumer holidays are merging into one, and anyone who’s ever fought their way through an in-person Black Friday should be thankful.
I guess once upon a time it made sense for the two days to be separate, when not every retailer had yet mastered the internet. But now that it’s 2012, there’s no reason to elbow your way through a Walmart or Macy’s full of shoppers fighting for the last cashmere sweater like it’s the last rock of crack when all the same deals are available from the comfort and sanity of home.
I think that, going forward, as more and more commerce takes place online, Black Friday will either absorb Cyber Monday or vice versa, as they become synonymous. And I can’t wait. The carnival of consumer depravity will seem much less disturbing when it’s just a day to encourage spending and stimulate the economy, sans fisticuffs.