Becerra: Black Friday shopping expands from one-day event

During the biggest shopping day of the year, the hunt for a new pair of boots took a chaotic turn when a crowd of coupon clippers and sale hunters shrouded my view of a mountain-high stack of marked-down boots at the world’s largest Macy’s, located in New York City.

In the end, I successfully grabbed my brown riding boots alongside a newfound respect for what I can only describe as the Macy’s store “boot bouncers,” who handed me my well-deserved prize. Their yelling, as well as their blacked-out getups, led me right to the sectioned-off scene of caffeine-fueled, box-throwing customers.

As the economic whirlwind of Black Friday continued, I found that a shared experience between customers existed in the hour-long checkout lines, overcrowded food courts and aggressive rack searching that followed my dragging shopping bags throughout several packed malls. It was Black Friday, and the crowds and great deals were all an essential part of the experience.

But in terms of recent sales and retail numbers, the iconic daylong, door-busting event may be a thing of the past. According to the National Retail Federation, a 21 percent increase in store and website visits occurred on Thanksgiving — a day that became dedicated solely to bargain hunting after feasting on turkey.

Big-name retailers like Wal-Mart and Target illuminated store windows at the stroke of 8 p.m. for eager buyers, resulting in 35 million shopping trips on Thanksgiving Day alone. Commercials and ads, as well as spotlights on news broadcasts, became constant teasers in the lead-up toward the big weekend.

With Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday following quickly on its heels, Black Friday is now spanning out to be a five-day weekend of nonstop shopping. For many bed-ridden shoppers who are continuing their credit card tirades on free shipping deals and half-off sales from the comfort of their laptops, a simple question arises: Is Black Friday dead?

In fashion and retail terms, the answer is no. If anything, the easy-deal essence of Black Friday now lives in a weekend-long hunt to satisfy checkout thirsts, creating several outlets for these thirsts to thrive. From Kohl’s trips to’s 50 percent-off glory, the options are endless. And with the new trend of Small Business Saturday deals becoming a part of the tradition, resources for fellow sale hunters are growing.

Vintage fashion trucks from local boutiques took over the City Hall Plaza of Boston during Saturday’s big cash-saving event, reported on Nov. 24. For wardrobe hunters who aren’t looking toward big-name retailers for closet revamps, the increase in small but economically beneficial events like this may become a new trend in fast-track consumerism.

As for the raging crowds and cramping cart-filled aisles, those factors are nowhere near extinction. If you spent any part of the weekend sitting shoulder to shoulder with fellow food court strangers after Forever 21 sweater hunting, JC Penney pea coat searching and Macy’s little black dress sifting, the sentimental — and, at times, strange — value in early morning shopping remains intact and very much alive.

The season of holiday shopping and occasional shoving charges on in Black Friday spirit and extends into thriftier terrain with more time. Whether you prefer to do your shopping pajama clad or turkey stuffed, the options for greater deals are endless and easier to access than ever.

Daisy Becerra is a junior magazine journalism major. Her column appears every other Monday. She can be reached at


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