Every year we try to gauge how successful Black Friday is locally (actually, Black Friday week now) through simple observation and discussion with friends and acquaintances.
At first, there were some expressions of concern that some stores were upping the ante by opening on Thanksgiving Day. But even people who were opposed to those openings admitted it wouldn't affect their Thanksgiving gatherings. Those who were going shopping said they would schedule their store visits around turkey time, parades, football games, etc.
A store clerk we talked to about working on Thanksgiving was grateful for the hours and said she would enjoy her turkey dinner with her family a little later than usual.
Almost all the people we talked to were excited about at least one thing they had seen in "Black Friday" circulars or display ads. One acquaintance talked of getting an LED television for under $100; another saw a great buy on a baby stroller.
There certainly were enough bargains in Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday's editions of The Maui News to attract the attention of everyone from jewelry hunters to electronics addicts to fashion divas. Oh, and there were quite a few items for sportsmen and people looking for automobiles too.
Although this is written too early to have a good reading on it, yesterday was Small Business Saturday - a day where shoppers were asked to remember, and patronize, the small businesses that provide so many jobs locally. If the crowds in their bigger brothers Thursday and Friday are any measure, Small Business Saturday should also have been a huge success.
Perhaps the calendar this year added a bit to the shopping frenzy. Traditionally, the Christmas shopping season doesn't begin until Thanksgiving - and Thanksgiving was very late this year. That means less time for holiday purchasing.
In any event, the enthusiasm of shoppers this week is good news for the economy. Most retailers make all their money for the year during the holidays. It looks like they are off to a good start for this shopping period.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.