At eight in the morning, hundreds of people were already on the labyrinthine corridors of the Pentagon City shopping centre on the outskirts of Washington on Friday. With coffee in hand and hanging bags, families, elders and young people roamed the four floors of the complex, self-absorbed with the posters announcing lowers of more than 50% in a majority of the 170 stores. Despite the popularity of online shopping, the Black Friday is still for many an intact tradition.
"How much did this tele-friend cost you?" — "$ 100." The original price was 500! "It's a bargain" the first one came in. The second went out. Black Friday is the dream of many: unthinkable prices for products that would otherwise be impossible to acquire. With a broad smile on his face, an African-American man goes over the staging at his feet. A huge Christmas tree illuminated with thousands of small bulbs, background Christmas music and dozens of posters with offers. On the ground floor a fortnight of fast food restaurants provide the bellows necessary to continue the marathon consumption. Two canine units and four heavily armed agents secure the crowd.
"We open at 7.30 and close at 10 pm," says the head of a cosmetics store, while applying a 70% discount to the cream that a woman buys. He explains that in his place today not only have a fixed discount but makes it staggered, in the first two hours the products will be cheaper than in the last. "It's a Happy Hour, the one who gets less pay before."
Larger establishments such as Macy's, Nordstrom or Forever 21 branches are packed. But the smaller shops are not so lucky. The answer, as one of the managers of the Nespresso coffee shop says, is the online offer. "We have the same offers on our website." "Why move if you can get the same with less effort?" he asks.
According to numerous studies, the Black Friday is becoming less relevant in the consumption boom that occurs at the end of the year in the United States. In the first three weeks of this month, Americans have spent 18% more than last year in their online purchases. Internet traffic is expected to shoot at 13% from Cyber Monday, the Equivalene to Black Friday but on the net, until Christmas.
Stores like Walmart Triple their offer of products in their webs in front of the stock they have in their establishments. Other stores like the Japanese Uniqlo offer Black Friday discounts during the week before this Friday, encouraging more the purchase through the computer than in person. The change of the Web by the store is especially true for big techs like Apple or Microsoft, whose armies of employees walked today without much to do in the shops of Pentagon City.
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