Shopping Craze!

Cemil Ozyurt
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Thanksgiving Day is one of the most important celebrations in the USA. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November, and was first celebrated in 1621. The Plymouth Colony, which was made up of some of the first settlers of the present day USA, celebrated the bounty of their harvest following a hard winter, and later turned this into an occasion to thank God for all that He gave them.

As for the day after Thanksgiving Day, in the USA it is considered the beginning of the holiday season and it is also known as “Black Friday”. Why black? In the years when accounting was done by hand, losses would be indicated in red ink, while profits were written in black. An eventual increase in sales on that day would be seen by shopkeepers as a turning point from losses to profits. Nowadays, in American society, there is a tradition of stores opening in the early hours of “Black Friday” (around 3:00 am-5:00 am), and millions of people line up to buy discounted products.  

This year, for the first time in my life, I wanted to witness the “Black Friday” craze. I set out towards Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, which with 220 stores is the most popular shopping center of New York and the surrounding area. Contrary to other shopping centers, this year the outlet was going to open its doors to customers at 12:00 am for the first time. My intention was to set out at 11:00 pm, reach Central Valley where the shopping center is located in an hour, and after having bought a few things, go back. Would that it had been so easy! There was intense traffic starting as far as twenty-five kilometers (15.6 miles) from the shopping center, with sleepy looking people creeping towards their target. This was the first time in my life that I had seen, in the USA, so many drivers driving in the security lane. People were driving on the grass and in the security lanes to pass each other. My trip ended at around 3:00 am when I reached the shopping center. However, the fact that there were also long lines in front of the stores made me realize that the experience was not worth this much hassle so I made a U-turn near the shopping center and went back home. In the newspaper the next day, I saw that some people had managed to get back home at 11:00 am.

How much money do you think these people spent after having suffered so much? According to data provided by the National Retail Federation, on 23rd November 2007, Americans bought goods worth 10.3 billion dollars. 150 million people flowed into various kinds of shopping outlets and the average expenditure was 347 dollars per person.

While last year Americans spent 456 billion dollars on shopping during the period of 23rd November – 1st January, which is known as the holiday season, this year they are expected to spend 474 billion dollars, which corresponds to a 4 percent increase. “Black Friday” ends, but shopping does not. These last few years, “Cyber Monday” has been introduced to attract those who do not go to shopping centers. By means of the Internet, people order goods from their work places, and in this way they greet the holiday season. It is expected that online sales will reach 20 billion dollars in this holiday season.

People continue to shop more and more each year, but I can personally say that I will never again shop on a “Black Friday”. Or not at least until the black ink turns into red!!!

(December 2007, Issue 27th)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07