Black Friday began earlier than ever this year, with many stores opting to open even before the end of Thanksgiving. Shoppers found themselves facing more than just crowds on Friday, with violence sometimes accompanying savings.
This year, two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Fla., and were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. In Covington, Wash., a 71-year-old intoxicated man drove over two people in a Wal-Mart parking lot and was later charged with vehicular assault. In a Sears parking lot in San Antonio, a man started a fight, prompting another man with a concealed carry license to draw his weapon, promptly ending the scuffle.
Emily Wulfkuhle, a sophomore in the College of Education, said the savings on Black Friday made fighting the crowds worth it, despite such instances of violence.
“I went shopping on Black Friday to find some of the best deals all year,” Wulfkuhle said in an email. “Even though I could have gotten certain deals on Saturday, I wanted to have the best choices.”
Black Friday violence appears to decrease in frequency each year, and in 2012 the big story was stores such as Wal-Mart and Target opened as early as 8 p.m. on Thursday evening. Wulfkuhle was one of those who went to Target on Thanksgiving night, but she said doing so was unnecessary.
“I really only went because it was exciting that a small town’s store was opening so early,” Wulfkuhle said. “I do not think that it is necessary for stores to open that early. The stores were dead after the big rush at 9 p.m.”
Possibly due to stores opening earlier than ever, 2012 saw record-breaking sales. This year’s estimated amount of spending was $59.1 billion, up 12.9 percent from last year, according to Fox Business. On top of the $59.1 billion spent in stores, online shopping broke $1 billion for the first time.
Lauren Holman, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said she would rather go shopping from home rather than try to fight the crowds.
“I knew I was going to have better luck shopping from home,” Holman said. “I don’t like to fight the crowds. I’d rather have my Starbucks coffee and relax when I shop.”
Cyber Monday is the online equivalent of Black Friday. While only a small amount of retailers participate, the biggest names in the industry, such as Sears, Macy’s and Wal-Mart, are usually among those that do, according to an article on Yahoo!. Holman said shopping on Cyber Monday could be even more hectic than Black Friday shopping.
“Instead of fighting with other people you see visually, you’re doing it against a totally different clock,” she said. “You’re trying to get what you want before someone else gets it. You don’t know if someone is trying to get it, but you have to assume they are.”
Even with all of these deals, Black Friday leads some to question whether the savings are worth it. Wulfkuhle and Holman both expressed the absurdity of buying things on or the day after Thanksgiving.
“As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s really messed up,” Holman said. “For me, Thanksgiving’s an awesome traditional holiday, but now we have to eat earlier. You have to rush your dinner plans just to go shopping. If you can do it all online, then why rush around to do it right then and there?”
Wulfkuhle noted the contradiction between fighting the crowds on Black Friday and a day of thanks.
“I think that it is very ironic that we go from a day of family and thanksgiving, to a day where we are fighting with other people for great deals,” Wulfkuhle said. “Even though I usually do not go shopping for myself on Black Friday, I still think it is silly that it is the next day.”