Black Friday

David Haines / Flickr

This is the week that not only means turkey, giving thanks, pumpkin pie, and football. For many, Thanksgiving week means let the shopping begin! The holiday shopping crush traditionally began at the crack of dawn on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. But more and more retailers have decided to throw the doors open and let America start spending on Thanksgiving Day itself. We wanted to look at exactly what fuels this shopping mania. Scott Rick, a marketing professor from the University of Michigan spoke to Stateside about this phenomenon, along with Aradhna Krishna, the Dwight F Benton Professor of Marketing and director of the Sensory Marketing Laboratory.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it comes Black Friday – one of the largest shopping days of the year.

Many stores begin Black Friday by opening their doors to shoppers at the crack of dawn, and even more have begun to open to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day itself.

To examine what goes into this shopping mania, we talked to University of Michigan marketing professors Scott Rick and Aradhna Krishma.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has signed into law a new tool to crackdown on organized shoplifting.

Michigan retailers are near the end of a mediocre holiday shopping season.   But the governor’s signature making the Organized Retail Crime Act law should bring smiles to many store owners faces.

The act will make organized shoplifting a felony with a five year prison sentence. 

The Michigan Retailers Association supports the legislation.   An association spokesman says shoplifting rings run by organized crime have become a “huge problem”. 

Greengobbler / Morguefile

Philanthropic organizations want to capitalize on the spending campaigns of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday"  - and also flip the idea of consumerism on its head.

The idea behind "Giving Tuesday" is to take time to donate to charity, after two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Eileen Heisman is the CEO of National Philanthropic Trust - one of the groups promoting the campaign.

"This is the first year, but I think it's going to continue," said Heisman. "I'm almost positive it is, and so I think in the following years we'll see a much bigger push and more visibility for people taking this time of year to give back in a more formal way on this day."

Charities report nearly a quarter of their annual donations come between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Not everyone shopping in Michigan stores this weekend plans to buy.

Some plan to steal.

The hectic nature of the holiday shopping season makes it easier for shoplifters.

Individual shoplifters have always been a headache for Michigan store owners.   But Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers Association says now store owners are having to deal with organized gangs of shoplifters…

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Most of the attention this weekend is on long lines at big box retailers.  But Michigan’s smaller retailers are counting on some shoppers to look to them to kick off their holiday shopping season.

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday.

Louise Gradwohl is with Lansing’s Old Town Commercial Association.  She says the national campaign should mean an uptick in shoppers checking out Old Town's mix of art galleries and other eclectic stores.

Black Friday gets darker: Study says prices aren't really lower

Nov 23, 2012
Steve Rhodes / flickr

While there must be some Black Friday shoppers waking up before dawn just for the thrill of throwing elbows on their way to the last Tickle Me Elmo, most shoppers rationalize this seemingly irrational behavior by pointing to cheaper prices.

And of course the prices are lower. Right?

Not so, says the Wall Street Journal.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan retailers are optimistic they will have a very good holiday shopping season this year.

Nationally, sales are expected to be up by four percent over last year.

Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers Association says this is a critical five-week stretch for many store owners.

“It’s probably 20 to 25% of a retailers’ business of the year…depending on what kind of retailer they are,” says Scott,  “If they’re a toy store….it could be 50% or more.”

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

In sharp contrast to the chaos at many shopping centers during Black Friday, Occupy Grand Rapids held an event today encouraging people to buy nothing.

“This isn’t the way that Christmas has to be, you know?”

Mandi Creveling lined up clothes, books, kids toys and electronics in neat rows on top of a blue tarp. All of it is up for grabs at the “really free market”. She’s been organizing free markets in Grand Rapids for about 5 years. It’s like a flea market, but where everything is free.

Federal officials are urging the nation’s retailers to control crowds during this year’s Black Friday sales.  

Those crowds could reach record numbers.

Retailers are aggressively advertising Black Friday specials in light of low expectations for holiday sales this year.  Some stores will open as early as 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.   

Michigan retailers have been busy this weekend with the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But Monday could be a very big day as well.

The National Retail Federation coined the term ‘Cyber Monday’ five years ago to describe the growing trend of holiday shoppers flooding store websites on the Monday following thanksgiving.  A recent survey found more shoppers planned to shop online  Monday than stand in line on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  

Michigan retailers are optimistic that holiday sales will be better this year.

The first real test comes this week. 

 Thanksgiving is such a pivotal time for Michigan retailers many aren’t waiting for their customers to finish their turkey dinners.

K-Mart, Sears and other retailers plan to be open on Thanksgiving day.   Many other stores, like Banana Republic and the Gap will open their doors Thursday night.