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Black Friday liveblog: Online deals or brick-and-mortar sales?

Sales tax may be hurting Amazon's bottom line, but overseas, online sales have been booming on similar shopping holidays.

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Bloomberg's John Tozzi writes that retailers attempted to rename the day "Big Friday," but with little success. The name stuck, and businesses did their best to roll with it by inventing an alternative etymology. 

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The term became widespread beginning in 1975, which incidentally is the same year that Steely Dan released their song, "Black Friday," which you should definitely start blasting now, especially if you are reading this on a mobile phone while waiting in a checkout line, 

-- Eoin O'Carroll

Updated 8:44 p.m.

For many retailers, Black Friday is kicking off a few hours earlier this year. Kmart, Walmart, ToysRUs, and Sears, for instance, are opening their doors at 8pm, and Target opens at 9pm. 

These earlier opening hours are no doubt welcome by some shoppers, particularly the types who are loath to rise at 4am for what is now considered a traditional door buster. But others are questioning the morality of opening stores on Thanksgiving, a day traditionally observed by expressing gratitude for things that one already has, and not by attempting to acquire more stuff. 

Resentment of "Grey Thursday" – a term that neatly captures the moral ambivalence resulting from the collision of these two American traditions – is felt most acutely among retail workers, who, unlike potential shoppers, cannot opt to avoid the malls. As the Monitor's Gloria Goodale reported on Wednesday, Walmart, which is not unionized, is experiencing greater than usual pushback from its workers, with many threatening to walk out. 

CNN reports that OUR Walmart, a group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, expects thousands of workers –"associates" in Wal-speak – to participate in wildcat strikes.

But of course Walmart is simply responding to the logic of the market: if its doors were to remain closed, shoppers would simply migrate to the store's competitors. 

As Forbes's Laura Heller puts it: "Thanksgiving or no, the almighty deal will win out. Like it or not."

-- Eoin O'Carroll


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