Yep, 2021 strikes again.
Black Friday was a non-event last year. Oh, sure, it happened. But the lines of people camping outside stores, the crushing rush inside when the doors opened, and the screaming fights over deeply discounted items were rare in comparison to the past*.
* It’s possible that being on the West Coast gives me a biased perception. Anyone in a state that didn’t have mask mandates, social distancing, and/or stay-at-home orders want to chime in with local data on last year’s Spend-a-Thon?
This year, though, it’s shaping up to be a doozy.
Not only is Black November gaining force–several major retailers have been pushing variations on the “Early Black Friday” theme since about 12:01 AM on 11/1–but those same stores are ramping up the publicity for their sales on the actual Black Friday.
Because, of course, people are sick and tired of shopping from home–even in the Southwest and Florida and all those other areas where they never started shopping from home–so they have to show up in the malls at Oh Dark Hundred Hours.
On the bright side, the stupidity of starting the Black Friday sales on Thursday–better known as Thanksgiving–seems to have gotten lost. And good riddance.
What’s going to be really interesting is seeing what happens with Cyber Monday. Remember that? In case you’ve mercifully forgotten, the premise of Cyber Monday has been that people save their online shopping for the Monday after Thanksgiving when they’re back in the office and can use their employer’s bandwidth.
Man, that sounds quaint, doesn’t it? “Back in the office”? It is to laugh.
It’s only a little more than a week to Thanksgiving and, while your experience may differ, I haven’t gotten a single ad for an upcoming Cyber-whatever event.
Could Cyber Monday turn into a regional event? Only advertised in places where the concept of “working from home” hasn’t caught on?
Probably not. It’s cheaper for national advertisers not to filter their mailings, after all. Our best hope is that PR departments decide the optics of telling people to go to work are just too ugly this year.