If you remember holiday shopping before Amazon Prime, you’ll find this year’s version of Black Friday is completely different. Black Friday is an unofficial holiday filled with great deals, long lines, cold weather and fight videos uploaded to YouTube. It used to be a tradition to find and circle items on sale with a red Sharpie and create a shopping plan. Coupons would be clipped out of physical fliers and magazines and then categorized before the big day. Shoppers used to line up at 2 a.m. at Target, or other retailers, just to wait for it to open hours later to purchase an discounted TV. It was the thrill of being in a crowded store filled with shoppers yelling at each other, the tug of war over DVD sets and rushing down the aisles to get to checkout. This excitement got shoppers out of bed in the morning. It involved fighting to be the first in line to get the prized and limited item, usually a large television or the latest gaming console.
It used to be that only once a year Black Friday was a journey that took you into the world of desperate shoppers, last minute gifters and overly annoyed retail employees. It was worth waking up in the morning to watch, and worth watching the fallout videos the next morning. It was America’s tradition to fall into the idea of saving money on expensive items and buying things they didn’t need. That was the beauty of Black Friday; it was a mess of an unofficial holiday and that’s what made it so much fun.
Unfortunately, in the digital age, Black Friday had a complete redesign that removed the thrill of shopping and changed it to simply clicking the “Add to Cart” button. Amazon was a key player in the depopularization of Black Friday with free two-day shipping for their Prime members, exclusively timed items and price matching. You no longer have to wait in line for hours in the cold. With Amazon, you can simply tap a button on your phone, or even ask Alexa to order for you. Soon after that, Walmart, Target and many other retailers began switching their Black Friday sales to include online Black Friday offers. This led to a new holiday, “Cyber Monday,” an online-only unofficial holiday. After Cyber Monday was introduced, “Black Thursday,” “Black Friday Week” and even “Black Friday Month” became the online norm. The once American tradition that was Black Friday changed forever because of Amazon and other online retailers, but the memories of the original Black Friday will live on forever.