The Absurdity of Grey Thursday

First came Black Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season. Then came Cyber Monday, where consumers finally started embracing online shopping, albeit through their employers high-speed Internet connections. And now, we have the prequel nobody asked for, Grey Thursday.

Many people are slamming retailers for opening their doors on one of the biggest holidays of the year, keeping their employees away from their families. But you also have to wag your finger at consumers who are taking the term “Door Busters” literally, pillaging store shelves in hopes of procuring the last Tickle Me Elmo Doll or FurReal Friends Cuddles My Giggly Monkey Pet (and no, I didn’t make that last one up, folks). There are fights, arrests, vandalism, hospitalizations and other tragedies that lead to a bloody start to the holidays.


However, though I find these acts to be egregious, my biggest gripe with the whole Black Friday shopping craze is the fact that people still feel the need to leave their homes to shop.

It’s 2013: just shop online.

Why wait until Cyber Monday? Back in the old days of 2004, consumers were dependent on their employers’ high-speed connections. Today, we can shop just as fast from the comforts of our couch, holding a beer in one hand and our phones in the other.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks this, as 49% of holiday shopping is expected to take place online this year. Sure beats pitching a tent and sporting three days of funk just to save on an off-brand Blu-Ray player.

Apps like Shop It To Me have revolutionized the way we shop. The app sends deals to your phone based on your size and brand preferences. Others, like Sift, go through all your promotional emails in your inbox to help you find the best deals. There’s also the cleverly titled Black Friday app that’s your digital guide to, what else, Black Friday. Then there are the regular standbys like Gilt that send deals on high end merchandise daily. There are a variety of resources online to help you navigate the holiday shopping season without looking like this character:


Retailers have also realized the value of ecommerce and have changed their strategies to further embrace digital. In fact, Best Buy made up their own colorful shopping day, Blue Sunday, a pre-Thanksgiving online savings event. Most brands have their own apps to alert you when items your interested in go on sale. Many even have free shipping incentives. This way, you can get that double waffle iron for your grandmother without turning a corner at Walmart and seeing this.

But I don’t know. Maybe there’s something about going out and playing in traffic during the busiest shopping day of the year. Maybe there’s a great thrill to fighting over a 90” TV. Maybe I’ll experience an epiphany while rushing out at three in the morning for a cheap blender.

Probably doesn’t beat the comfort of my couch, though. I’d much rather shop online for the same deals instead of going into stores on Grey Thursday, Black Friday or any other colorful day of the week.

But, if you still feel the need to escape your relatives on Thanksgiving, just go to the movies. I hear there’s a new Hunger Games out. That should satisfy your need to watch someone fight to the death while being manipulated by people in positions of power.

Written by Ken Hammond on November 26, 2013


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Ken Hammond