Tilak Rishi's weblog

Musings on writing, expression, world politics, journalism, movies, philosophy, life, humour...

My Photo

Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Craziest Christmas Shopping Day

Yes, it is the craziest and it is right here in USA on what they call Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day, which is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier. Some of the larger retailers open as early as midnight on the start of Black Friday in localized areas and remain open for 24 hours throughout the day until midnight the following Saturday. Upon opening, retailers offer door-buster deals to draw people to their stores. In many cities it is not uncommon to see shoppers lined up for hours before stores with big sales open. As soon as the store gates are opened, the shoppers often rush in and grab, as some stores have only a few of the big-draw items. On occasion, injuries and even fatalities are reported. A stampede of shoppers in a Valley Stream Wal-Mart on a Black Friday morning left one worker dead and at least three patrons injured after an impatient crowd broke down the store doors and trampled the seasonal employee, who was pushed to the ground by the 2,000-plus crowd just before 5 a.m. as management was preparing to open the store; a pregnant mother was hospitalized from injuries in the same human "stampede", resulting in a reported miscarriage; on that same day, two people in Palm Desert, California were shot and killed in a store during an argument.

The term "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. Store aisles are jammed. Escalators are nonstop. People are on a buying spree. Traffic cop tries to control a crowd of jaywalkers. The bus drivers and cab drivers call it 'Black Friday, as they think in terms of headaches it gives them. However, many merchants objected to the use of a negative term to refer to one of the most important shopping days in the year. By the early 1980s, an alternative theory began to be circulated: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period where retailers would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black).

Despite its historic popularity, many recommend staying away from Black Friday shopping. They fear that you may end up camping out in front of Best Buy on Black Friday, only to find the five rock-bottom-priced laptops advertised in the Thanksgiving newspaper were picked off by employees before the doors opened. They would also warn of health risks, including parking space standoffs, sleep deprivation, catching a cold, getting trampled, sticker shock, fighting in stores, muscle cramps, and more. Other reasons that can lead consumers astray: the deals are over-hyped, all deals go quickly and most of the in-store deals are now available on internet. They also try to follow the tips given by TV hosts that help them make it through the day more or less unscathed :

1. It's OK to do nothing. Many people shun most forms of shopping for the entire weekend, either because they can’t stand crowds or they’re turned off by the notion of people shopping from pre-dawn ‘til after dark.

2. You can always shop on the Internet. Stop and think of the myriad benefits: no crowds, no lines, many online retailers offer sales and special discounts on the Black Friday.

3. If you must brave the crowds, be prepared. Get the Thanksgiving Day newspaper in your area and flip through all of those ads. You might be surprised to notice how many of the ads are time-sensitive — as in, deeper discounts may apply if you shop before 10 or 11 a.m. or noon.

4. Be a savvy shopper. You can rise above the Friday fray by doing some homework in advance about products that really interest you – especially if they’re big-ticket items.

5. Distinguish between deals and duds. To ensure you’ll be getting an actual bargain rather than a ho-hum or too-high price, do your research to get a sense of how much items should cost.

6. Decide how early you’ll arrive, and plan accordingly. Can’t resist the urge to stand in line in the dark before your favorite store opens at 5 a.m.? Then remember to dress comfortably — warmly enough for the time you’ll spend outside.

7. Make friends with people in line. A spirit of camaraderie will not only make the long, dark wait more pleasant — it also could prove to be a godsend if you must give up your place in line so you can run to the bathroom. You could offer to hold a place in line for your newfound friend in return.

8.Pick the right shopping buddy. Unless you want to bicker and feel frustrated all day, think hard about who would get into the spirit of a shopping day like this.

9.Shop with a list. You’ll feel more in control and focused if you head out with a list of the people you’re shopping for, the gift ideas you have in mind for them and the target price range for each item.

10.Bring the ads you found. If you saw an advertised special that really impressed you, bring the ad along to avoid any disputes over how much an item is supposed to cost on Friday.

For some, the shopping frenzy that ensues on the Black Friday is an obnoxious and distasteful display of unrestrained consumption. For others, the day represents a fun annual tradition of bonding with like-minded friends and family members who love to hunt for bargains. Howsoever one may perceive it, no one can deny that Black Friday remains the craziest Christmas shopping day.


Post a Comment

<< Home