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Main Character of the Week: Black Friday deals flopping

Young people are nostalgic for the Black Fridays of 2008


Ramon Ramirez


Posted on Dec 2, 2023   Updated on Dec 4, 2023, 7:37 am CST

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Online, young people are nostalgic for the Black Fridays of 2008. I get it: That may very well go down in history as the final hurrah of the doorbuster deals era. Shoot, I fondly recall waking up at 4am to make a 5am Sears run in order to purchase a discounted washer-dryer combo. 

At the time, Black Friday was framed on TV news as unhinged consumerism that showed our most shameful societal attributes: greed, envy, selfishness. Maybe it was just a healthy and competitive activity rooted in the love that we had for getting the best possible stuff for our favorite people and ideal prices? Because in 2023, Black Friday got canceled and it was a bummer.

As brick-and-mortar stores take a backseat to Amazon Prime, in-person deals not only seem pointless but turns out there aren’t as many to go around.

Several TVs at Best Buy were left unsold and the stunning visual was posted to TikTok. Area Walmarts overflowed with leftover stuff. Going out of business sales were even devoid of deals.

And at Target, a customer devastatingly revealed that a listed “Black Friday” deal was actually the same as the “Regular Saturday literally the next day” price when she pulled back the tag.

Online, Amazon deals were exposed by savvy shoppers as armchair economists explained in viral videos why Black Friday markdowns “don’t really exist” and are only giving you like $1 off

Viral rants against Black Friday were commonplace as Black Friday retail workers complained about having to sell stuff in the aftermath of their dental surgery.

But in the real world? Don’t worry! People are buying stuff and it’s a good signal for the economy. As CNN reports:

“Adobe Analytics reported a record $9.8 billion in Black Friday online sales, up 7.5% from 2022, not accounting for inflation. And for Cyber Monday, the numbers were even stronger — consumers spent $12.4 billion, a 9.6% increase from 2022. During the peak hour, shoppers spent $15.7 million every minute, Adobe said.”

Anecdotal evidence of Black Friday’s demise may be convincing, especially when it comes to shopping malls. And the deals may be designed to get us to spend money. Duh. But we have reason to believe that Santa will still stash something good under the tree for you.

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*First Published: Dec 2, 2023, 6:00 am CST