ST. GEORGE — The national day for giving thanks gave way to the national day for scoring great deals on consumer goods, as many major retail outlets kicked off their Black Friday sales earlier than ever before. While some stores opened their doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, others like Best Buy opened as early as 6 p.m. and Kmart began its Black Friday event at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning.
The phrase Black Friday was first used to describe the day after the Thanksgiving in Philadelphia during the 1960s. The words, which was to describe the heavy downtown pedestrian traffic after the holiday, has now entered the national vocabulary, and has come to different things to different people.
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Videocast by Michael Flynn, St. George News
For some, it’s a fun tradition that they have shared with their family for years. For others, it is a crass expression of greed and capitalism. Some see Black Friday to be a perversion of the Christmas spirit, while for bargain-savvy shoppers, it’s the greatest shopping day of the year. Many retail employees, however, have come to see Black Friday as a dark day indeed. To some, the day after Thanksgiving promises long hours, extra work, and an ironclad obligation that precludes them from spending holiday with their families.
A group of young men and women sat at a table outside Starbucks last night discussing the trend. “It’s starting to run over Thanksgiving,” a St. George man name Kyle said. “There were people who were camped out at Best Buy last night,” he said, “I thought that was a little ridiculous.”
However, for retailers, Black Friday can make or break their business.
“It’s the biggest sales day of the year,” said Jay Hartman, store manager at Kohls. “We’ll do almost half a million dollars in just in this day.”
Hartman said that Black Friday sales at Kohls are typically three times what they would hope to see on even the busiest days during the rest of the year. “Just to give you an idea, when we opened today, we had about 600-700 people in line,” Hartman said, “And that’s just in line while we’re opening. And then people filter through all day.”
With large crowds gathered outside of many local stores last night, the police were close at hand to keep the shoppers safe. St. George Police Officer Chad Lee, who stood guard at Target, said that there weren’t any major problems. “Things have been pretty quiet,” he said. “They are letting them in 15 people at a time so it doesn’t get too crowded in there. “
Officer Lee said, while he can see why people come out to shop on Black Friday, dealing with the long lines and crowded aisles wasn’t his idea of a fun time. He said he doesn’t get a lot of joy out of shopping in general. “Now, maybe I would come for the entertainment value,” he said “but not to shop.”
Holiday sales continue through Friday and the rest of the weekend at most retailers, followed by Cyber Monday, when many online retailers will hold their post-Thanksgiving holiday sales events.
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