Nobody is buying retail, and people who are buying retail are buying it online, but some of the people who are buying retail products IRL are still getting into fights over it. Also, black activists in Chicago plan to disrupt the retail district.
In 1939, American retailers asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving up a week, from the last day of November, because there would not be enough time for the Christmas season’s sales—inaugurated with what is now known as “Black Friday”—to take effect. Roosevelt agreed. In 2008, Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old Walmart worker, was killed in a stampede of Black Friday shoppers on Long Island.
When someone takes the last pair of Jordan's on Black Friday. pic.twitter.com/25IZnEk4Zk— 'nati (@NSudenga) November 27, 2015
Consumer habits are changing, though. People are still spending money—since the beginning of 2014, the New York Times reports, after slower years in 2012 and 2013, overall consumer spending has risen at a rate of 3 percent during the holiday quarter—but just not on retail. Last year, retailers made $51 billion on Black Friday, down from $60 billion in 2012.
“They’re online,” John J. Canally, chief economic strategist at LPL Research, told the Times. “And they’re spending more on experiences. A day at the spa, a baseball game, the ballet—rather than a sweater or a pair of socks that no one wants.”
Huge ass fight at st. Matthews mall. 😂 pic.twitter.com/bFF39Vw5Wk— Taylor Stewart (@tstewart5725) November 27, 2015
Although, it’s not just that everyone’s shopping online and spending money on “experiences,” whatever those are, instead of vegetable steamers. According to The Guardian, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to rise 3.7 percent slower than the 4.1 percent last year.
WORRRRLDSTAAAAAR pic.twitter.com/SEuGy40nwR— yung wifi (@DaddyWeaknd) November 27, 2015
Meanwhile, black activists in Chicago, demonstrating after the shooting death of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, plan to shut down Michigan Avenue, the city’s shopping district. “We want people to know, and want the world to know, that we have a crisis in Chicago,” Pastor Roosevelt Watkins, of the Bethlehem Star Church, told ABC 7 Chicago. “The crisis is that we have police brutality that’s out of control.”
“Officer Van Dyke was just as guilty last year in October as he was yesterday,” Bishop Larry Trotter, of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church on the South Side, said. “And he should have been fired last year.”
“With the $1tn buying power of the African-American community, it is absolutely necessary to withhold our hard-earned earnings from a broken system that often values property over people,” Rahiel Tesfamariam, who started the #notonedime hashtag last year, told The Guardian.
Tesfamariam hopes that the hashtag will motivate the African-American community to participate in a universal boycott, not spending any money from November 26-30. “It is a way for us to assert that we have had enough and will spend ‘not one dime,’” he said. “We refuse to be driven by America’s rampant materialism and capitalistic values at a time of communal grief and rage.”