Should We Start Calling it Red Friday?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and inevitably that brings around Black Friday, the retail world’s way to ramp up holiday sales by creating a day where highly sought after items are deeply discounted from the early hours of 6 a.m to 12 p.m. Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near a retail store the day after Thanksgiving because one – I just spent the previous day gorging myself on food and alcohol and the last thing I want to do is shuffle my way through crowds of sweaty people and two – I don’t get up at 6 a.m. for anything. Especially not Not even for $99 Blu-Ray players at Best Buy.

But personal feelings aside, investors and economists are making predictions left and right – will Black Friday be yet another down turn for the US economy?  This year, they should really just call it “Help us get out of the Red” Friday because for many companies, Q4 holiday sales are a major portion of their yearly revenue.  The good news is – if you are someone fortunate enough to still have your job and not feel the pinch from creditors, banks, and your boss, you are in for a treat.  Retailers have literally slashed prices on products this season – tech gear especially.  The New York Times reports, “there has already been much chatter about $99 GPS units for sale at Target, $200 Blu-ray DVD players at Circuit City, $250 netbooks at Amazon and, as always, ever larger and more affordable flat-panel televisions, like the $900 42-inch 1080p LCD models for sale at Best Buy.”

I recently went into Best Buy to scope out a new laptop I’ve been eyeing and was almost floored to see how discounted some of the top brands were.  $649 for a 15-inch Toshiba with a decent processor and 350GB of internal memory?  And only about $1k for a fully-loaded model with enough storage to fit every picture you will ever take in your life.  The sales people literally followed every person walking around the kiosks, repeatedly pointing out features and trying to close the deal and watching with disappointment as most customers walked out the door.  At first I was annoyed and kept trying to feign a Russian accent to get them to leave me alone but then I watched in fascination – this is what it has come to, shoppers struggling to justify spending any money at all, even on a great deal and sales associates trying desperately to remind them why America used to love to shop.

I’m not an expert, but my prediction is we’re in for tight holiday budgets and probably a very, very long winter. 

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter: ashleyatcaster

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