November 26, 2005
Black Friday & The New Middlemen
Posted by Gordon Smith

In retailing, "Black Friday" refers to the day after Thanksgiving, when most retailers finally become profitable. (Best Buy and certain other retailers refer to the day as "Green Friday" because of the money generated on that day.) According to the W$J, "shoppers turned out in sometimes-frenzied droves."

After returning from an early-morning excursion to Best Buy, my wife reported that the customers who snapped up the deeply discounted Toshiba L25-S1192 laptops ("doorbusters") were mostly men in their 20s, who had camped out at the store beginning at 9:30 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Even more surprising, there was talk among this group of listing their purchases on eBay.

So I checked it out, and eBay has over 50 listings for that laptop, all posted on November 25. Best Buy's price was $379.99, and many of the listed laptops have already cleared that price. According to the NYT, many of the doorbusters are sold below cost. The volume of eBay listings doesn't seem particularly large, given the number of laptops sold by Best Buy, but I wonder whether this sort of "professional" activity will discourage shoppers like my wife from sacrificing sleep and ultimately lead to a change in the way that stores lure customers on the day after Thanksgiving.

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