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article imageOp-Ed: Avoid Black Friday deals and drama, shop locally with small biz

By Mark Burdon     Nov 29, 2013 in Business
What is it about a $29 tablet that incites people to anger enough to fight in a retail store? Or a toaster, laptop, or other electronics on sale at deep discounts? Does Black Friday bring out the best in retail, or the worst in shoppers?
Canadian malls are packed today as retailers emulate U.S. Black Friday. Canadian retailers are slashing prices in hopes of drive up sales figures and to cut back on their merchandise that has been on their shelves collecting dust. Or in other cases, they are looking to capture buyers seeking the latest XBox, PlayStation, or Apple device. According to CBC Radio, Americans are grabbing up products discounted as deeply as seventy-five percent,
Despite the great deals and excitement of being a part of Black Friday, you have to wonder why there have been so many cases of fighting and heated arguments in stores like Wal-Mart as reported by the Huffington Post.
It is disappointing to see articles one week about how Wal-Mart executives are setting up food drives for their employees one week and then slashing their prices a few weeks later to move more merchandise. Shoppers in Canada on a CBC Radio news show report loss leaders and deep discounts to get shoppers into stores to buy other merchandise that may not be on sale. You don't hear stories of stampeding or shooting of thieves in Canada as reported in the New York Post.
Americans are experiencing difficult economic times, which undoubtedly impacts the number of acts of violence that are being brought to the public's attention today. Black seems like an apt colour to choose considering the number of deaths and injuries that have been caused on this day in recent years. Cyber Monday will no doubt add millions to the coffers of big retailers on both sides of the border, as well as sales this weekend.
Looking at at the social media sharing of articles on these mall melees are equal parts North Americans amused by the circus of the violence and others around the world shaking their heads in dismay at the senseless violence over sales events.
As large big box retailers drive margins down to razor thin levels on suppliers, the value of buying from smaller business even at higher prices seems to make more sense. With Shop Small Business Saturday happening again this weekend, why not avoid the throngs of bargain hunters and patronize a locally owned merchant? A "Mom and Pop" shop may not be able to provide the deep discounts on commodity products, however you might find a much more unique gift for your loved ones, and the impact of keeping your money circulating locally is a much better strategy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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