The mixed bag of Black Friday

Countless American consumers are out and about today and this weekend taking in the sales and spectacle of Black Friday and the now-traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Many even began the entire annual occasion yesterday on Thanksgiving itself, something that would have been unthinkable years ago when the only businesses open on Thursday were gas stations.

There are a lot of strong feelings about the whole Black Friday phenomenon. Many decry the de-emphasis on long-standing traditions, the insertion of consumerism so early in the season, the focus on extravagant spending as centerpiece of this long weekend and the weeks ahead leading to Christmas. Others resent stores opening on the holiday itself. Even some people who indulge in Black Friday shopping will sometimes confess that they think it is all just a little bit much.

Understandable. Those are all perfectly valid positions.

There is, however, a flip side to consider, even for those critical of Black Friday and the enormity of the entire shopping season. Consider the significance of holiday shopping to the economic well-being of the country. This is, after all, a consumer driven economy. Many retailers are reliant on holiday revenue to thrive, or even survive – and this isn’t exactly the golden era of brick and mortar retail. Those businesses employ a lot of people and that then echoes throughout the economy; while company profits impact a stock market in which anyone with a 401k is invested.

Again, an understandable perspective.

Perhaps it is best not to invest emotionally in the whole holiday consumption issue. With a change in shopping patterns, generational preferences, sensibility changes and economics – the odds seem to favor there being a different landscape in the years ahead. Love something or loathe it, the smart money is always on change.

Engage or not in shopping today, Minot Daily News wishes you a safe experience and to remember Small Business Saturday tomorrow. Maybe just maybe SBS is a look at what the future of holiday shopping will be. That doesn’t sound so bad.