Thanksgiving, is known for a day when everyone give thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is also popular for one more thing, Shopping! Wondered why? It has an interesting fact associated with it. People say it started in late 1860s after the financial crisis of 1869 when the government encouraged people to shop "after" the day of thanksgiving. This was the start of the shopping season which would last till the year end.
In short this was an activity the government put forward to allow people to spend some of their money and effectively get more taxes. A very productive and smart strategy considering the backdrop of the financial situation in the 18th century. Since then, this shopping spree is not just continued but grown, expanded and somewhat exploded! I believe it is not the first tradition that has started as a productive step and tested with time turned into a chaotic and somewhat nonsense activity.
What really has changed? What is the issue?
The concept of Shopping should be - When you are Happy, you Shop! And now-a-days it is changing to - You shop and (only) then you are Happy!
Talking about statistics, The retail companies, for eg. Walmarts and KMarts, have to register a profit in a fiscal year. Thanksgiving is the week when they make the most of their sales. It is said that out of the total yearly sale, 25% of the sales is done in the week of thanksgiving. No wonder they want to focus all their efforts (to invite more and more customers) in the holiday week.
Every store wants maximum number of buyers to hit their doors. And hence the concept of Doorbusters!
Brushing aside the actual policy of encouraging people to shop "after" the day of thanksgiving, to get more customers, stores started to open early. People started to hoard outside the stores. And now the practice is, people are ready to stay outside the shops for 3-4 days, just to get a discount!
The problem doesnt end just here, At the time of store opening, no matter what time it is, most of the time the situation becomes chaotic and oftenly results in voilence, accidents and complete ruining of holiday mood.
These images are just few of action packed moments -
The questions are -
Is it really worth to stand in a queue for days just to get a discount on a particular item?
Is it really worth to meet an accident, be part of the frustration and chaos in the festive season?
There are so many incidences of shoplifting, accidents in parking, brawls for not getting parking, disputes for line breaking, fighting for getting a discount.
And the answer is, It is totally insane to be a part of it!
And how much discount you get anyways?
For curiosity, I tried to track prices of few items this year.
To my surprise, All the products which were either new, branded or a successful product did not have any kind of discount. And for the record, the products which were successful and had a discount were just limited quantities. No prize in guessing just to mention it on the website or pamphlet to draw more people only to find "till stock lasts" sign!
The products which were unable to sell, the products which were on shelf for a long time, or few products which needed some advertising boosts were the things having discount.
Said that, Given a choice of online shopping, It is a big question if the doorbusters and deals in store which causes huge lines out side store, making people to wait outside the store for days, giving reason to dispute, really need to exist in the first place.
Is this step to be taken by the government? or Is it the people who need to understand and change accordingly?