Black Friday

Black Friday

One week from today shopping malls and department stores all across America will be lit up with crowded parking lots, loooong lines and a frenzy of sleep-deprived shoppers.  Black Friday is the first official day of the Christmas shopping season and is coincidentally the time of year retailers start to turn a profit – moving from the red and into the black.  It also happens to be an extension of my family’s Thanksgiving holiday.  I scour the Thanksgiving sale papers and get up in the middle of the night to “shop ’till I drop” (quite literally) with the best of them.

The National Retail Federation reports that in 2010, 212 million consumers shopped in stores on Black Friday spending $45 billion (Predictions for Black Week 2011, Ryan C. Fuhrmann of SFgate.com).  I was going to write a quippy post about tips to help you shop your best on Black Friday – but 212 million seems to imply a lot of people already know what they’re doing.  As a rule, I skim over the big numbers in articles – but something so piqued my curiosity I couldn’t help but google what percentage those shoppers represented of the entire American population.

According to 2010 Census Data, our national population is 380,745,538.  That means nearly 69% of Americans were responsible for last year’s Black Friday spending.

What is $1,000,000,000?

If you’re like me and need help conceptualizing what $1 billion equates to in real life, check out this post by Jess Bachman.  My favorite stat:

What else could we do with $45,000,000,000?

(UN International Aid goals, poverty.com).

(Agreement on Effort to Help Haiti Rebuild, New York Times).

(www.cancer.gov).

It seems that collectively we have incredible potential to do a world of good.

I’m not saying I won’t be shopping next Friday – being frugal with the money you have is wise – but I will approach the day with new perspective.  There is so much more to life in this world than a sale.

  • What if 69% of us were known for something other than shopping a national sale and spending $212 the day after Thanksgiving?
  • What if a portion of Black Friday sales could somehow be traced back to purchases made for charitable organizations working to make the world a better place for people who really need it this season?
  • What if we believed we could do more to effect change in the world with the resources we’ve been given?

Clearly, it can be done – and it wouldn’t take as much as we’d think.