In the past few years, the retail phenomenon known as “Black Friday” in the US has started to influence retailers here in Canada. Traditionally, our day of deeply discounted shopping happens on Boxing Day because of our Commonwealth heritage. This year, some local malls have decided to get in on the Black Friday madness by opening at 7am on Friday.
I don’t think it’s a good sign that these Canadian retailers are following what’s happening in the US. First, it’s a holiday down south, so it’s easier to get shoppers out to the stores since it’s more likely Americans will have the day off. In Canada, this Friday is also known as Friday, a day where people go to work. How many Canadians are going to have time to go hit the malls when they need to be at work? Second, in recent years, the reports of injuries and even deaths from Black Friday crowds in the US have garnered much attention in the news. These examples in the US shows that Black Friday brings out the worst in people by fanning the flames of consumerism and capitalism. I don’t see how it’s worth it to trample over an old man just to get a discounted piece of electronics. We don’t need that in Canada and I like to think we have better sense than that. We already have Boxing Day, let’s not over do it.
What I don’t mind at all at the online Black Friday sales. Online retailers can discount their wares all they want. Shopping from home is easy, convenient, and it makes sense for both shoppers and retailers. That’s the way to go. This Friday, I hope Canadians stay home and keep some perspective on the whole day.