Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Was That Grey Friday?

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Was That Grey Friday?

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Was that Grey Friday?


An editorial from the Red Deer Advocate, published Dec. 3:

Canadians get so much American content on TV and their personal portable entertainment devices that it's possible to think there's not a lot of cultural differences between our countries.

We also do so much of our import and export business with the U.S. that our economic behaviours should not differ that much, either.

But we've been hearing that story for decades, and our cultural and economic borders remain intact. The Canadian experience with the irrational phenomenon of Black Friday may just be the proof of it.

This year is a bit of an odd duck, as far as Christmas shopping goes. The season officially kicks off with Black Friday, which coincides with American Thanksgiving, which this year also coincides with Hanukah. Both also coincide with a season containing six fewer shopping days before Christmas.

Calendar buffs tell us such a triple confluence will not happen again until long after humanity is wiped out by an asteroid.

Even then, surviving species will probably still line up overnight outside whatever large retail outlets remain standing in what used to be the U.S. And, as I heard one commentator remark, while still digesting the feast they ate to give thanks for all the stuff they already have.

But not in Canada. We're smarter than that.

Depending on whose website you can trust, Christmas shopping can account for as much as 30 per cent of total U.S. retail sales, and 40 per cent of American retail profits.

That includes the deep discounts purportedly offered on Black Friday, and Cyber Week to follow.

Statistics Canada puts that figure at just 10 per cent of total retail sales for us, which is only 1.5 per cent above the monthly average. (To allow that percentage, January, February and March are significantly below average.)

Yes, Christmas shopping is indeed significant to our retail economy -- it is the basis of the Christmas season as we have come to live it. But Black Friday will probably never catch on here the way it has south of the border.

Why not? Three reasons.

First, the Black Friday frenzy of violent shopping is already burning out in the U. …

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