I was going to blog about this nonsense about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two days of the year when Americans supposedly do the most shopping, and every media outlet joins the hype. Then I saw this terrific letter to the editor in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, from Scott Simon in Springfield, Illinois, who makes exactly the points I was going to make:
The media continue to propagate the myth that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. It’s rarely true.
According to the International Council of Shopping centers, it was the busiest in 2003 because of good weather across the country. But last year, the ICSC reports, Dec. 18 was the busiest, followed by Black Friday. In 2002, Dec. 21 rang up the highest sales, followed by the Saturday before Christmas and Dec. 14. Black Friday isn’t an indicator of whether or not seasonal sales will be up or down from the previous year.
Retailers created the “Black Friday” myth about 20 years ago as a marketing tool, hoping to influence people to shop in droves, making the stores’ sales figures go from “in the red” to “in the black” for the year on that day.
The sight of people waiting outside stores to storm the doors continues to fool the media into telling this myth.
What they also forget is that most of this shopping is done by women, who are the ones caught up in the ensuing frenzy. If you were to only count the shopping done by men, I’d bet that the busiest day of the year is the Saturday before Christmas, because guys always wait until the last possible moment to do anything.