The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way companies are offering their annual Black Friday deals. When the pandemic started back in early March, few people believed we would still be fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by November. Of course, there were experts that believed the pandemic would last long past November, and into 2021, but they still had the hope of a vaccine being created in that time. 

COVID-19 has drastically changed many aspects of our lives over the past nine months and one thing health professionals have stressed is social distancing. That means stores cannot hold their annual Black Friday deals this year, because they cannot risk the massive crowds that Black Friday deals attract the day after Thanksgiving. 

Anyone who has watched television since the beginning of October has seen the commercials advertising the way major stores – like Target, Walmart and Best Buy – will be operating their annual Black Friday deals. Even hardware stores like, The Home Depot and Lowe’s, are following this model. However, this year they will have their Black Friday sales online and throughout the entire month of November. Retailers are encouraging customers to take advantage of the Black Friday deals online to avoid the massive crowds. 

My best guess for their reasoning behind this decision is that they will avoid large crowds of people inside their stores, adhering to social distancing guidelines, and I think the idea is brilliant. Keeping large crowds out of their stores and giving incentive for people to take advantage of Black Friday deals from the comfort and safety of their own homes might help slow 

down the number of positive COVID-19 cases during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Americans should be more focused on slowing down the spread of the coronavirus than on getting great deals on Christmas presents. 

I have never participated in any shopping on Black Friday because I have always spent that day watching college football, grilling burgers and spending time with my family. However, I might do some online shopping while watching college football now that I do not have to leave home and push my way through crowds of people looking for Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews. 

I have never understood the appeal of Black Friday because of what I saw every year on that day in my family. Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday in my family. Family members from Knoxville to Dallas come to Memphis to celebrate in my household. Thanksgiving is like a family reunion for my family. 

Most high-end retail stores do not have sales on Black Friday, because stores like James Davis, Oak Hall and Joseph Women’s Clothing Store’s customers have regular customers year-round. According to the vice president of James Davis men’s clothing store, Rob Joyner, they do not participate in Black Friday, because about 80 percent of their customers are considered regulars. 

“We have a regular clientele,” Joyner said. “We have sales on items throughout the year, but we’re not the kind of store to get involved with the craziness that comes with Black Friday sales.” 

Oak Hall’s men’s accessories buyer, Paul Kauerz, is referred to as, “The Mayor of Oak Hall”. 

“We do not participate in any Black Friday sales,” Kauerz said. “Instead, we send a Christmas card with $100 gift cards to Oak Hall to our top customers a couple weeks before Christmas.” 

The president and owner of Joseph women’s clothing store, Barry Wurzburg, explained that Joseph women’s clothing store has always had the same approach to Black Friday that is very similar to what many major companies are doing this year, and that it has been that way for as long as she can remember in the store’s 90-year-old history. 

“We don’t participate in Black Friday,” Wurzburg said. “We have a sale before Black Friday.” 

I understand the incredible sales that take place, but to me it’s not worth dealing with the massive crowds that come with Black Friday. However, the way companies have changed their Black Friday sales to online throughout the entire month of November makes more sense because customers can avoid the mayhem of Black Friday while still getting the same great deals. 

I believe companies should stick to this model of Black Friday sales and never go back to their old way of having Black Friday sales, simply to avoid the mayhem that comes with the massive crowds and people fighting over items. Also, I think these major companies like Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, Lowe’s and The Home Depot were brilliant in coming up with this plan 

for their massive discounts they have available on Black Friday and I expect these companies to make a lot of money this year with this new model of Black Friday sales. 

This marketing plan for Black Friday was absolutely genius, in my opinion. I hope that COVID-19 gives society one good thing by changing the way Black Friday sales are done from here on out. 

The only thing I cannot understand is, why did it take a viral pandemic to make them realize this a better way of having Black Friday sales? I guess they figured their old system wasn’t broken, so they never considered changing it. However, the pandemic made them take a different and more logical approach to Black Friday, and I can only hope they decide to stick with the new plan and never go back to their old ways.

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