I often need to explain to my friends why retailers and media use the term "Black Friday" in referring to the day after Thanksgiving. After all, it's a rather ominous term to attach to the much ballyhooed "busiest shopping day of the year."
(The term derives from retailers moving from "in the red" to "in the black" on their balance sheets as the holiday season can bring them nearly 30% of their annual revenues.)
But, sadly, this past Friday lived up to its name. If you've not yet heard, in promoting “Black Friday” sales. A crowd at a New York-based WalMart that started waiting as early as 9pm Thursday--which swelled to as many as 2,000 by 5am Friday--got angry, mobbed the store, removed the doors from the hinges, and trampled a male employee and a pregnant female.
And, in my opinion, this is a BIG black mark for the marketing profession. While it happened at Walmart, the practice of big sales and scarcity strategies are not at all limited to the nation's largest retailer... and some simple preparations could have saved lives (literally) while still assuring high sales. Or, said from a responsible marketing standpoint: it would have put people ahead of profits. Sigh.
I'm discussing it in far more detail over at The Daily Fix: please join me here for the post and discussion.