Welcome to Black Friday spam. My email is overflowing with Black Friday sales, promotions and warning that the best prices are here now, and we must act fast to take advantage. One email claims “Back Fridays Matter.” BFM? Another post Thanksgiving retail sham.
Black Fridays are often used by retailers to get rid of merchandise that hasn’t sold. Scammers also see the period as an ideal opportunity to part people from their money. Online Black Friday scams are rampant.
And with all that money flowing from one wallet to another, cybercriminals will unfortunately look for a way to get a piece. Although scammers work year-round, it’s during the holiday season that they look to exploit the spirit of giving, which proves lucrative.
The scams are wide-ranging: As retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart roll out deals over the holidays, fraudsters put out elaborate websites to trick you into spending money on products you’ll never receive. You may receive text messages or emails claiming you’re eligible for a refund for an item you never purchased, just so that thieves can get you to reveal your card information. You might even be enticed into donating to a charity that provides homes for abandoned puppies — that just doesn’t exist.
For those who do venture out on this Friday, they may find shortages of goods they hoped to find on the shelves, along with lingering effects of the pandemic that remains a threat.
The United States enters a holiday shopping season that is much more physically present than 2020, but not quite as carefree as it was prepandemic. People are more comfortable shopping at stores, but the number who return will likely vary by geography, and the employees will typically be wearing masks.
“There’s a lot of pent-up energy to do things,” said Marie Driscoll, managing director of luxury and fashion at Coresight Research, an advisory and research firm. “Everything old is new again.”
But hallmarks of a changed season remain. Many stores closed on Thanksgiving and holiday hours at certain malls and chains will be shortened, in part because of a national labor shortage. And many people are bracing for a dearth of products like popular toys as “supply chain issues” becomes the refrain of 2021. There are also those customers who will stay away from stores, based on new habits adopted during the pandemic or ongoing concerns about the virus, and opt to shop online or using curbside pickups.
We abandoned Black Friday years ago. The last one we participated in was in Manhattan after attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more than 20 years ago.
I ordered a couple of items I need — like new memory cards for cameras and some items for the house — from some online retailers we know because of discounted “Black Friday” deals, but we won’t joint the madness in any malls, big box stores or shopping districts this weekend.
“Time to change Black Friday to ‘Idiots Shop Til You Drop Day,” said Evan Morgenstein, CEO of The Digital Renegades, several years ago.
I’m growing weary of hearing “Black Friday” on repeat a million times a minute. What’s with the negative overtones? Black Friday, Black eye, Black mail, Black and blue… There is a pattern here. If we as a society have decided that we are going to take one of our very few legitimate days off, to rest, replenish and relax to chase “Sales” that will only get better in 2 weeks, so be it! But I am out!
Good advice. Enjoy the day off. Do something relaxing. Read a book. Here in the Floyd area, it’s Friday. Go to the Jamboree or another music venue tonight.