The traditional Thanksgiving has been corrupted by Black Friday sales events and the violence of consumers. Historically, families spent time together to celebrate the holiday. However, many American retailers now require their employees to work on Black Friday, which now begins on Thursday. Nevertheless, consumers have a safer option by shopping at locally owned businesses and supporting the regional economy. Instead of shopping on Black Friday, support Small Business Saturday.
The day after Thanksgiving is considered the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday horror stories include consumers camping outside major stores, standing in line for hours, and, every year, waiting for the best-priced merchandise. Many are looking for gifts.
According to a website dedicated to Black Friday, the term was first used in the 1960s. U.S. News explains, “The day was dubbed ‘Black Friday,’ when account books were still kept using pen and ink and the day’s sales helped move stores out of the ‘red’ and into the ‘black,’ signifying a profit.” Overall, the day has been a benefit for businesses.
In fact, in 2014, according to U.S. News, the megastore, Walmart, had over 22 million shoppers in its stores on Thanksgiving Day. During the four-day weekend, Thursday through Sunday, the National Retail Federation reported at least 133.7 million Americans shopped in stores or online.
Amazingly, since 2006, there have only been 98 injuries and seven deaths reported in American stores while shopping on the traditional day of super-fabulous prices. According to U.S. News, “Stampeding crowds and angry, violent shoppers are usually the reason, but in 2009 a shooting broke out in the checkout line in a California Toys ‘R’ Us that left both gunmen dead.”
Injury, death, crowds, and gun violence are all good reasons for consumers to think twice before leaving the warmth of home. By choosing to support small businesses on Saturday instead of fighting crowds on Black Friday, a person can stay safer.
Support Small Business Saturday
When consumers decide where to spend their hard-earned money, small businesses are often overlooked. Mom and pop-owned shops are committed to providing services and products made in America. According to Forbes, “It is impressive to think about the amount of time, commitment, and labor these hard-working individuals contribute to [making] their businesses both come to life and stay alive.”
Customer service at the local shops is more personalized than at the larger corporate stores. Consumers can expect to find their patronage is valued, and by keeping the money circulating within the community, the local economy grows. According to the Minority Business Development Agency, “Everyone knows that your dollar goes a long way when you buy a product or service from a small business. That money goes right back into the local economy.” The Small Business Administration reports this is important because more than half the working population either owns or works at a small business.
Another reason to shop at a locally owned business is the unique gifts that cannot be found at a national retail outlet. Recipients appreciate locally made items such as jelly, honey from the local beekeeper, handmade hats, clothing, and knick-knacks.
There is no need for consumers to fight the Black Friday crowds or violence. Since there is an option that supports the local economy, it is essential to participate in Small Business Saturday.
Opinion by Cathy Milne
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Minority Business Development Agency: Support Your Local Businesses on “Small Business Saturday.”
Forbes: Why You Need to Support Small Businesses
U.S. News & World Report: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Friday
Featured Image Courtesy of Andi_Graf’s Pixabay Page – Public Domain License
Top Image Courtesy of Official Facebook Small Business Saturday Page