Some thoughts about Black Friday


Traditionally, the “Black Friday” weekend that begins the day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. And even in today’s uncertain economy, the anecdotal evidence suggests that a lot of people decided to shop online and in stores during this always-busy period. Personally, I only spent a few minutes near retail stores, but several questions came to mind:

– Almost every major store has special deals available if you start waiting in line at 3 am. Why aren’t some of these deals reserved for loyal customers who shop there all the time? That way, there would be an extra incentive to make repeat purchases instead of just engaging in a one-time event and starting all over again next year.

– Given that several people were injured or even killed during various Black Friday stampedes, might it be smart for some stores to adopt the opposite approach? Maybe they could take a cue from Southwest and let people check-in via the Internet. Each person would get a number indicating their place in the line, which would thus dictate when they get to enter the store.

– Many people spend the whole day shopping and get hungry in the process. Why don’t retailers and restaurants partner to offer free meals for people who spend over a certain amount of money, especially at off-peak times when the restaurants are otherwise quiet?

Whether the economy is good or bad, addressing these issues could make people happier with their holiday shopping experience. In the process, stores would attract more shoppers and entice those who do show up to stick around longer and buy more products.