Black Friday: To wait in line or not is the question many ask

Many people spend the day after Thanksgiving with local retailers searching for great deals and waiting in line, sometimes for hours, all in the name of shopping.

Getting the hottest items at a reduced price on Black Friday is worth it to some shoppers, despite having to wake up at the crack of dawn, battle crowds of people and spend hours waiting in line.

“The longest I’ve waited was three to four hours,” said Angelina Shcherbina, 18, a liberal studies major. “It was something I really wanted for myself.”

There are a variety of reasons that people might not participate in the free-for-all shopping often seen on Black Friday.

“Black Friday, in recent times, has lost significance,” said business and marketing Professor Man Phan. “With the advent of technology, where folks buy online, why wait to get in line for hours when you can get them online?”

Black Friday, a term coined in the ‘60s, came about because many retailers operated  at a loss for the first part of the year and after Thanksgiving sales were so high that they were able to turn it around, changing from red to black, Phan said.

Phan also said recent violence, between customers struggling to get the items they want, could be a possible deterrent to Black Friday,  as stores offer a limited quantity of items at a drastically reduced price.

Last year two people were shot in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Florida during Black Friday shopping, according to ABC news.

Cheng Vang, 22, a philosophy major, said that he has not experienced the lines at retailers, not because of the wait but the merchandise that is on sale.

“There hasn’t been something on sale that interests me,” Vang said. “If there was Black Friday for martial arts supplies, I’d be there.”

Though Vang is not a Black Friday participant by traditional standards, he said he does shop online.

Cyber Monday is the day for deals to be found from online retailers, allowing shoppers to get great prices on items without having to wait in line.

Some may wonder why we still have Black Friday shopping, why anyone would care to venture out on Nov. 29 and deal with the lines and possible violence that has now become so readily associated with Black Friday.

“It is indicative of our economic performance,” Phan said. “The idea is [that] if we can increase traffic on this day, chances are we could increase traffic throughout the four-week buying season.”

Even with alternatives available, some people will continue to venture out for the experience.

“Despite it losing its significance, in my view, you still have a number of Americans [shopping] just for, if nothing else, keeping with tradition,” Phan said. “Black Friday I’m waking up early to be with other Americans and join in the tradition, join in the celebration and join in the chaos.’”