Essay on Black Thursday: The Thanksgiving Sale

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1965 words
Boston College
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Research paper
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Black Thursday is a term commonly used for a Thursday when things do not go well or as planned either economically or socially. The world has used the word in some contests, but the most important is the 1929 US stock market crash. The events of this day, 24th October 1929, will make the history of the US economy for a long time as it marked the first day that the US stock market started a downward fall. This tragedy was caused by the high number of loans that banks advanced to everyone and anyone at a minimal margin and even investing the customers monies without consulting with them. The result was that when the stock market began to fall, banks could not avail the amount that their customers withdrew. These events were the start of the downfall that led to the crash of the stock market and subsequently the Great Depression in the preceding years.

In his article on symbolic meanings of colors, Yu says that the black color has been in use for many centuries among different cultures and the uniformity in their interpretation of the color, black, is unique. He states that across all cultures, the color black is used to connote evil or sadness (Yu, 2014). As in black Thursday events of 1929, a lot of depraved happenings that occurred since then, on a Thursday, have been referred to as black Thursday. For example, in 1963, when there was a fire in North Carolina and 2014 when more than ten wrestlers lost their jobs from WWE. In this article, Black Thursday is used to signify the Thanksgiving Thursday that precedes Black Friday, a day for celebrating shopping in preparations for Christmas.

Microeconomic Theory

Harberger, states that microeconomics is a more straight-forward dichotomy from macroeconomics and mainly deals with the interactions between producers and consumers and the concepts of demand and supply in a market (2008). Hence, it applies to how individual consumers and smaller groups such as within a family, a firm or even an organization make decisions as to how to access goods or services especially in a market where there are scarce goods or when the consumer has limited resources to acquire the properties or amenities. Microeconomics relates to how consumers look at opportunity costs in the market and deciding on the needs that they have to forgo to obtain other goods and services. Arnold, in his book Microeconomics, states that the theory also to take into consideration the choices made by producers especially through the cost-benefit analysis to choose what products to manufacture or services to avail with the cheapest expenditures (2015).

Microeconomics theory also considers the relationship between the producer and the consumer to establish the demand and supply levels of a given product or service. With such information on the demand and supply needs, it is easy for the producer to know how much to make and how the prices of the goods would affect his production. This theory involves the evaluation of the elasticity of products and how the changes in their amounts can affect the amount manufactured or availed. Arnold analyses this through his demand and supply theories. In general, the microeconomics theory looks at the decisions made by the players in the market, that is, the producer and the consumer, taking into consideration the demand and supply levels of a product, with maximum benefits for each party at the end of the transaction and minimum losses.

Thanksgiving Sale

Thanksgiving Day is a great tradition upheld every year in the United States and other countries such as Liberia, and the US celebrates it on the fourth Thursday of every November. Its history can be traced back to Plymouth in the 15th Century when the people dedicated three days after a successful harvest to celebrate (Bradford, 2013) and then to the Spaniards and the French in the 16th Century. In 2016, the US held the festival on the 24th on November and this year, 2017; they will happen on 25th November. Consumers carry out a lot of shopping activities in preparation for the festival, and the result is an economic boom in the stores and shopping areas and for the whole country. The goings-on during this season includes getting together with families and sharing sumptuous meals including turkey while for others it is a time for giving back to the community through charity works.

In the preceding years before 2014, the season was marked by a lot of promotions and great discounts on products to woo more shoppers into spending money. However, as the shopping continued and other people still needed to buy more products even on Thanksgiving Day, stores started opening on the day of celebrations too. With time, the stores did not just open but also were functioning very early and stayed open until very late in the evening to accommodate all shoppers. However, with the development of technological advancement and to avoid waiting in lines in stores for hours or camping outside stores to get the best deals, most Americans switched to online purchases in 2008. In 2016 alone, the US made profits from online revenues for Thanksgiving shopping amounting to 1.3 billion dollars (Dollars, 2017).

Thanksgiving Sales Profits

As a result of the bonuses and discounts afforded on different products over Thanksgiving Day manufactures, retailers and the consumers have made a lot of profits in general. These earnings result from sales in stores and even from online sales. A study carried out by the American Farm Bureau Federation showed that on a Thanksgiving Day, an average meal that would serve ten people costs about 50 dollars. However, over the years, the production costs for products required for the day have been on the rise. An example is in 2007 when the price of corn and soybean meal, used to feed turkey, increased, the charge on purchasing a turkey for Thanksgiving also escalated. This case shows that the sale of turkey for Thanksgiving is very elastic.

Rampell states that the price of turkey seems to change drastically with the market forces of demand and during Thanksgiving when the customer need is very high, the charges reduced. This circumstance defies the laws of Microeconomics theory which states that as demand for a product increases, the prices should also rise to ration the amount that is manufactured and supplied to the consumers. This process, in turn, discourages the exploitation of the scarce resource of the masses. However, this type of sale that defies the orders of demand and supply refers to price leaders. Stores put up price leaders during the festive season to attract more buyers. However, to prepare the turkey, there are accompaniments that one has to buy too. Therefore, the stores, in a bid to compensate and return the money used for alluring people to buy the turkey, sell the other products expensively, for example, potatoes (2013).

Thanksgiving Sales Losses

When stores stock up for Thanksgiving Day shopping among the consumers, they try very hard to avoid any losses in the course of the sales. The retailers and stores use price leaders as one such mechanism. However, the tradition of opening stores on Thanksgiving Day is on the increase. Nonetheless, several authors have written against this practice opining that it does not increase sales. Most shops open because of other stores open, and since they also want to get customers on that day, they sell too. However, Long states that opening stores on Thanksgiving Day is, in fact, leading to losses for the stores themselves. This scenario is because they have to deny their workers the chance to be with their families. In addition to this, most of the shops increase their workforce to handle the many customers. However, in 2012 and 2013, the amount of shopping decreased by one percent (2014).

One of the other events that mark the halls of Thanksgiving is the National Football League play during the day. This game is one of the key occasions and in 2016; it had a turnout of around 200,000 people. However, 2014 marked the chief loss incurred during the Thanksgiving period. On the Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, many shoppers did not come out to buy products. This occurrence resulted in a lot of losses for retailers from 57 billion dollars in 2013 to 50 billion dollars in 2014. The National Retail Federation hinted at a possibility of shoppers buying before and staying at home on the day, in an attempt to understand this phenomenon. However, this did not make any sense, as most shoppers would wait for the sales weekend to get better deals (Tabuchi, 2014).

Improvements to be made

Thanksgiving is a big time especially for the people of the United States and also makes a significant impact on the economic status of the country. The tradition is deeply rooted in the way of life of the people and will continue for a long time. This custom is despite the profits and losses made by the retail stores over the years. The Thanksgiving for 2017 is set to take place on the 24th of November and plans are already underway for the same. This centenary includes the National Football League to mark the day. However, to make the event better and profitable to the economy, several steps can be taken to improve the same. The state can accomplish these through the use of devices such as price controls with principles such as price floors and price ceiling among others.

Over the years, stores have changed and fluctuated their product prices in a bid to get more customers. This practice has applied to both stores and online shopping shops. Consequently, this has been the foremost factor leading to losses as it is not definite that the shoppers turnout would match the incentives. Some stores have in the recent past; put discounts on their products to even half of the market prices to get more customers at their doors. For example, in 2016, Wal-Mart had a discount amounting to 140 dollars on a Dyson bagless vacuum that had a market price of 389 dollars. However, the government should step in during such seasons to set the minimum prices for the sale of such goods. They could set price floors for such products at a reasonable price to ensure that the market economy is maintained and other retailers are not pushed out of business as a result of being unable to compete profitably. The same could be done in the instance of price leaders when certain prices go up and above their absolute prices. This regulation can be made through the setting of price ceilings so that prices dont go way above the consumers abilities.

Comparison with other Seasonal Sales

Thanksgiving is not the only time marked with celebrations and a lot of shopping in the United States. One other significant festival in a year is the Christmas season. This festivity is another season manifest through a lot of shopping for foodstuff, decorations, and presents among others. The shopping for the Christmas celebrations are believed to start immediately after Thanksgiving on the following Friday, or Black Friday. People observe this day in the whole of the United States with some states, for example, Philadelphia, making it a national holiday and also in the United Kingdom where Amazon introduced it in 2010. For the remaining number of days, before Christmas from the Black Friday, a lot of stores offer promotions, bonuses, and discounts on their products and the outcomes are that a lot of Americans spend money stocking up for the day (Boyd, 2011).

Like the Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday sees a lot of stores flocking with eager shoppers. The day is believed to be the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States, and most shoppers save for big spending on this day. The Center for Retail Research carried out a survey that shows that in 2016 during the Black Friday, Britons spent 1.27 billion pounds in the 24 hours (Reporters, 2017). This shopping mark...

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