Once a holiday tradition, the words “Black Friday” have become cringe worthy in recent years. No longer seen as fun or safe, many customers are now opting to do their shopping online or via mobile, or miss out on door breaking deals completely.
One factor that will definitely come into play this year is the terrible weather forecasts projected in several major cities for the Friday after Thanksgiving. Shopping conditions across the country are not ideal for waiting overnight outdoors. In many places, shoppers are being advised to bring umbrellas. New Yorkers and Chicagoans should expect to bear the worst of it. Last year the weather in New York was an unseasonable 61 degrees on Black Friday. This year the weather is expected to be 37 degrees in New York and 20 in the Chicago area. Shoppers will also have to battle rain showers, and strong wind gusts reaching nearly 29mph in L.A.
Every year the news media reports on increasing violence at Black Friday sales, including several incidents of pepper spray attacks, trampling, and mass hysteria. According to one report, 74 million people are estimated to physically shop at stores on Black Friday, often in hopes of scoring an advertised item of which the store has a limited number of.
While nationally the price of gas has dropped since summer, it’s still higher than it was at any point last year. Add to this the gas shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy and you have a nightmare commute for most holiday shoppers. Long lines to get in and out of parking lots, intersections and driveways will lead to increased frustration and short tempers. Using mass transportation may not be a better bet as several train lines on the east coast are still experiencing hurricane related damage. High volume traffic from persons traveling or returning from family destinations will also cause long waits and overflowing buses, subways, trains and shuttles.
Adding up these hidden costs, it’s easy to see why many will either opt for the earlier Thursday shopping experience that many major chains are offering, or skip Black Friday altogether to wait for a Cyber Monday sale. Black Friday no longer has the allure it once had, nor is it seen as a warm holiday tradition by most families.