Is Black Friday Canceled?
Written by Joscelyn Ervin // Illustrated by Emily Williams
This holiday season, many stores have decided to change their major sales events to accommodate for safety risks due to the pandemic.
The entirety of summer and most of fall 2020 have featured little social interaction, and that likely won’t change anytime soon. Although many people have found different ways to celebrate summer and fall while being cautious and socially distant, many large corporations decided that one fall activity is not worth the risk — Black Friday. Starting in late September and early October, the list of companies that will be opting out of Black Friday has been growing. In fact, most of the store chains on this list are some of the leading companies in terms of Black Friday deals. These include:
Walmart / Sam's Club
Dick's Sporting Goods
Bed Bath & Beyond
Instead of celebrating Black Friday as usual this year, with huge crowds, tightly-packed lines, and essentially no room to breathe, these chains have decided to spread out their Black Friday deals throughout the month of November. They’re hoping this will lead to smaller crowds throughout the month within their stores, which will slow the spread of COVID-19. For specific details about these sales and deals from each store, visit their website or their social media. Many of them vary in terms of discounts and when merchandise will be on sale. On one hand, these spread-out sales may be irritating for people who like to get their shopping done in one day, but it’s easier now to compare and determine what sales will be the best. For instance, Walmart is doing a variety of sales each week of November. They’re starting off with discounts beginning on November 4th through the 7th, then changing them every four or five days. On their website, which explains the schedule, they even give examples of what will be included on the sale for that week.
While this decision is definitely a necessary one, and it’s good that these stores will be closed, maybe they should’ve been closed to begin with. COVID-19 is a great reason to avoid Black Friday in-store shopping, but a multitude of other reasons existed to avoid it before the pandemic. For example, I can say from experience that most of the “sales” and “deals” that you think you’re getting were actually the same from about a month ago. I worked at JCPenney for almost three years straight — that’s three Black Fridays that I worked in one of the larger retailers with some of the most advertised sales. My family has never been one to participate in Black Friday, but after working for JCPenney and seeing the truth behind the “deals,” I was fully convinced it is a scam. During the months of October and November, JCPenney typically had its biggest sales of the year. While they often advertised to the public that the best sales were going to be on Black Friday, shoppers could often find these sales two weeks before and two weeks after the major night. This wasn’t the case for every single item, but it covered pretty much the entire store. A lot of the deals in the weeks following Black Friday were also better than the ones advertised.
"While this decision is definitely a necessary one, and it’s good that these stores will be closed, maybe they should’ve been closed to begin with."
Like everything else going on this year, it’s an unprecedented time in history; and seeing how these closures affect sales will be interesting. Coming from someone who’s worked in retail for over 5 years, Black Friday is by far the busiest day of the year. Although the sales will be spread out throughout the month of November instead, I’m not sure that this will make up for the single day that these stores will be closed. For a lot of people, Black Friday isn’t only about the sales and deals that they find — it’s also one of the ways they spend time with their family for the holidays. While companies have conjured ways to replace the monetary dilemma of closing on Black Friday, I think they neglected to consider the tradition and social aspect of the event. Either way, their decision to close is ultimately that — theirs. We’ll have to see how bad — or good — the aftermath is at the end of the month.