The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Shop ’til you drop

    Some think its a great day to hang out with family, as senior Tina Franzke said. Others, such as Freshman Michael Seaholm, are not too found of it.

    Its the day after Thanksgiving; undoubtedly a very popularized and highly anticipated shopping day of the year.

    “It’s like D-Day only with a higher casualty rate,” Seaholm said.

    Also known as Black Friday, the day has come to be considered the biggest shopping day of the year, and starts off the Christmas shopping season, said Michael Brim, spokesperson for Black Friday Ads Web site.

    Story continues below advertisement

    Brim said Black Friday got its name because the largest wildfire in Australia’s history took place exactly a year before the day was named. To rejuvenate the economy, Brim said the Australians dedicated the day to excess shopping.

    America adopted this day, the fourth Friday of every November, out of respect for the Australians, he said. It used to be that a portion of many stores’ profits went to help the Australian relief efforts. It has since become an American tradition.

    Brim also said the term “in the black” means a store is experiencing great profits that take them out of “the red,” which is a period of low profits. He said the idea is that from January to November stores are mostly in the red and the Christmas season is a time to make up for that.

    On your mark, get set .

    Because the day after Thanksgiving is such a popular event, stores need to prepare in advance.

    Stores such as Best Buy begin ordering months ahead of time, employee junior Charlton Anderson said.

    “We have to make sure we have enough to go around,” he said.

    Many stores begin to advertise for their “door-buster” deals, but often will not release the ads until a few days in advance, Michelle Harris, Oakwood Mall’s marketing manager, said.

    Stores such as Target and Old Navy were not even allowed to release their Black Friday ads.

    Wal-Mart, however, is launching its new Black Friday-like pricing early, Jami Arm,s a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said.

    Beginning Nov. 1, customers can receive instant messages alerting them of the new specials, Arms said. They also created an online system that will allow customers to check the availability of more than 1,000 electronics available both in-store and online.

    She said because more people are relying on online shopping to avoid the crazy rush of people, it is a good way to bring the customers back.

    Harris said it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for the day after Thanksgiving.

    “We are having a special promotion, that the first 500 people that come through the Younkers entrance will receive a free goodie bag with special offers and a chance to win hundreds of dollars worth of prizes,” she said.

    Harris also said it takes time to prepare the bags and get the offer advertised on the radio.

    The mall’s tactics help to entice the shoppers to come early, and by making it mandatory to be present to win, the customers stay and shop, Harris said.

    She also said another consideration is the amount of people who will be in the mall. In last year’s drawing alone, there were 1,300 participants, so it is crucial to have a full staff for extra security, she said.

    In addition to the businesses preparations, shoppers also have to prepare by scouting out the sales ads in the Thanksgiving edition of the newspaper in order to know which stores to go to ahead of time, Brim said.

    . Shop!

    Once the businesses are equipped with enough products for the demand and fully staffed for extra security, they have to make a plan, Anderson said.

    “At Best Buy, we are pretty much assigned to one spot in the store and we don’t move,” he said. “We have to make sure we can keep an eye out and help when we can in all the chaos. It can get so hectic at times that people will start yelling and pushing; there is a lot of tension in people for it only being 5 a.m.”

    Stores such as Target, Best Buy and Old Navy will open around 6 a.m., but many people will begin lining up outside stores around 4 or 5 a.m., Anderson and Harris said.

    Seaholm said getting up early wasn’t the worst part about his only Black Friday shopping adventure.

    “Just trying to find parking is a nightmare,” he said. “You drive around for a year trying to find a spot, all the while trying to avoid hitting people in the street. At least in the lines you are somewhat safe from the deadly parking lots, that is, until you get inside and then the people turn violent.”

    On the other hand, Franzke said she has had pleasant experiences on Black Friday, usually going out to shop at about 9 or 10 a.m.

    “For about the last six or seven years I have gone shopping with my mom and grandma. We don’t usually go for the sales; it’s just a fun way to hang out with family and get a little Christmas shopping done,” she said, adding she really enjoys going shopping on Black Friday because it’s exciting.

    She said it’s surprising to see so many intense people in the stores. One year when Franzke went, she said people got really mad when her aunt got the last item on the shelf.

    Both Seaholm and Anderson said they don’t think it is worth getting up early and wasting a day in hectic crowds unless you have a specific thing to buy.

    Anderson said its better to do basic Christmas shopping another day, since stores have sales all throughout the Christmas season.

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