A to Z 2016 : BLACK FRIDAY

Ah, one of the most controversial non-holiday holidays! Black Friday is arguably one of the biggest shopping days/events of the entire year. It's possible Cyber Monday is catching up, but I haven't ever bothered looking into it. I just know that it's also a big deal.

Traditionally, Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving, marking the first shopping day on the short trek to Christmas. Now — adding to the ever growing controversy — Black Friday has crept in and dug its claws into Thanksgiving itself. Sales used to begin at midnight, then shifted to 8pm, until last year some locations opened even earlier (4-6pm) on Thanksgiving Day.

Every year I watch as people argue and rant about how wrong it is that Thanksgiving is being slowly overrun by big box stores pushing Black Friday sales earlier and earlier, urging us to venture out to buy extensively, and forcing their employees to work during the holiday instead of being able to spend time with their families. And while I agree in large respect to it not being fair to employees of these businesses holding such hours, for the almighty buck, I can't help but love the event itself.

I avoid it for years. The traffic, the madness of crowds, was enough to keep me at bay. You always hear about people being trampled, customers trading blows over a particular toy that each insists they must have more than the other, or even worse yet, people hospitalized or killed. You'd think it was the Wild West out there. However, when I tentatively ventured out one Black Friday, against my better judgment, much to my surprise I experienced nothing of the sort. Sure there was traffic and crowds (sometimes not even that depending on the time and location), but there wasn't any violence. Not even minimal. Most people were really polite.

Since then I've been hooked, going out once family festivities have wrapped up, looking to score some good deals. Most years I've been successful on that front. As of late, though, the deals haven't been as good, in my opinion. Granted, I never go for most Door Buster sales, some of the biggest deals most retailers offer, because I really don't need another TV. But in general, the available sales being promoted just aren't as lucrative, which I find strange when they are fighting a growing resistance on the boycott front.

Another change is that most store will no longer price-match throughout the entire Black Friday weekend. Price-matching was a huge benefit for me, especially when buying electronics, because I do the bulk of my shopping at Best Buy. Poppa needs his Reward Points! Now I'm forced to actually travel to multiple places in search of the best deal! It's a huge inconvenience, and I'd imagine retailers are banking on you being lazy and paying for merchandise you could get cheaper elsewhere. Not I!

Despite some of these negative changes, I'm always hopeful I can still score a solid sale. So far so good, even if it's not as big of a takeaway as years prior. And as long as there isn't some crazy biological attack on Black Friday like in The Division, I'll keep weathering the storm and scavenging for sick loot. And maybe even then...

Do you go out shopping on Black Friday? If so, what are some of the best deals you've gotten? What are your thoughts about the retailers opening their doors earlier and earlier, encroaching on Thanksgiving Day?