For years, Canadian shoppers and retailers alike looked south with envy (and sometimes horror) at the U.S. shopping frenzy known as Black Friday.
In the past few years, all that changed as Canadian retailers decided to launch their own Black Friday — and their own Cyber Monday, the day after the U.S. holiday weekend when tech stores offer deals on their gadgets.
This year Black Friday and Cyber Monday — which land on Nov. 29 and Dec. 2 respectively — look to be larger than ever in Canada.
Cadillac-Fairview, one of the largest shopping mall operators in the country, says 21 of its malls across the country will open early on Black Friday.
“I think it’s a new tradition. I think it kicks off the shopping season nicely,” Wendy Greenwood, the company’s marketing director for Ontario, told the Toronto Star.
Even without an actual holiday weekend, Black Friday appears to be headed for success in Canada.
Greenwood told the Star that traffic increased 22 per cent to the six Cadillac-Fairview malls that experimented with Black Friday last year.
Many retailers aren’t waiting for Black Friday to start offering holiday deals. Amazon, Target and Walmart are among the stores offering deals all month, eCanadaNow reports.
Part of the reason Canadian retailers are getting in on Black Friday is fear of cross-border shopping eating away at their profits. To shore up local retailers, Yellow Pages Group has launched a campaign urging Canadians, particularly Greater Toronto residents, to stay close to home during Black Friday.
Some Canadian sellers don’t want to wait until American Thanksgiving, and have launched their own "Black Friday" sales for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in early October.
That has some shoppers worried about “Christmas Creep” — the holiday season seemingly starting a little bit earlier year after year.
But retailers argue pushing up the shopping season to before December is good for customers, who can avoid a last-minute rush in crowded stores.
"Many of our customers said to us, 'We hate the hectic pace of December, we want to have the opportunity to shop early,'" says Toys R Us Chief Marketing Officer Richard Barry.
Black Friday Romance?
<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/black-friday-shopping-spree-love-story-long-island-couple-article-1.414121" target="_hplink">According to the <em>New York Daily News</em></a>, two individuals have Black Friday to thank for their unique love-at-first-sight story. The two lovebirds struck up conversation while standing in line at a Long Island Kmart. The small talk turned into sweet talk as the two waited in line together for a total of seven hours before doors opened. Fast forward two years, and the couple is happily married with fond memories of the day they met, saying, "Black Friday will always be a memorable day for us. That was the day that changed our lives." (Getty photo)
Woman Shakes Up Shoppers With Death Threats
Shoppers were shaken up last year at Toys "R" Us in Wisconsin, when a woman named Lanessa Lattimore threatened to shoot shoppers who were waiting in line outside the store. A confrontation began after the woman tried to cut the line of several hundred people. <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-11-26/justice/wisconsin.shopper.threat_1_gun-threat-black-friday-shopper-huge-lines?_s=PM:CRIME" target="_hplink">Lanessa told CNN</a>, "Everybody was cutting in line. But there was one girl who was threatening me, so I told her that I'd shoot her." Although no weapon was found, she was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. (Getty photo)
Kim Kardashian: Best Black Friday Buddy?
A poll conducted by AOL back in 2009 revealed that Kim Kardashian was voted the person you'd most like to go shopping with on Black Friday, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/online-poll-kanye-west-named-year-biggest-turkey-kim-kardashian-best-black-friday-shopper-article-1.165773" target="_hplink">as the NY Daily News reported</a>. She even beat out Victoria Beckham for the best shopping buddy title. Would you want to spend Black Friday shopping with Kim? Something tells us that the poll results would be <em>quite</em> a bit different this year... (Getty photo)
... And Kayne West, The Biggest "Turkey"?
The same AOL poll that voted Kim K. as the "best shopping buddy" also revealed that Americans think Kanye West was the biggest "turkey" of 2009... whatever that means. Bear in mind that this poll took place shortly after his Taylor Swift interruption scandal at the Grammy's that year. <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/online-poll-kanye-west-named-year-biggest-turkey-kim-kardashian-best-black-friday-shopper-article-1.165773" target="_hplink">According to the New York Daily News</a>, Kanye beat out the likes of Jon Gosselin, Levi Johnston, Spencer Pratt,and Michael Lohan. In other words, it sounds like being called a "turkey" is just a kinder way of saying "biggest D-bag." (Getty photo)
Wal-Mart Employee Trampled To Death
A tragic story took place at a Wal-Mart in Long Island in 2008. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?ref=blackfriday" target="_hplink">As the <em>New York Times</em> reported</a>, an employee by the name of Jdimytai Damour got caught amidst utter chaos in a stampede on Black Friday, resulting in his ultimate death. Sources say that Damour was literally trampled to death by crazed shoppers, although no specific individual could be called out and held responsible for the fatal accident. Wal-Mart was also slapped with a $75K fine, according to the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/7k-fine-wal-mart-black-friday-stampede-death-article-1.404243" target="_hplink"><em>New York Daily News</em></a>.
Two Men Shot Dead At Toys "R" Us
A heated argument between two men lead to a deadly shooting at a Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, California on the biggest sales day back in 2008. <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2008-11-28/us/black.friday.violence_1_wal-mart-worker-fleming-busiest-shopping-days/2?_s=PM:US" target="_hplink">According to CNN</a>, police still aren't completely certain about the origin of the fight, although sources believe that it was unrelated to the timing of Black Friday sales that day. Luckily, no innocent shoppers were injured during the shooting.
Shopping Cart Heist
A strange shopping cart heist took place at a Toys "R" Us in the Bronx in 2009, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/shopping-cart-thefts-began-black-friday-500-bronx-toys-article-1.435826" target="_hplink">the <em>New York Daily News</em> reported</a>. Thieves stole 500 shopping carts starting on Black Friday and continued to nab carts throughout the holiday season. Shoppers were left annoyed as they were forced to carry all of their purchases, since no carts were anywhere to be found. Police suspect that the carts -- which cost a hefty $200 a piece -- were either stolen by gang members to sell metal scraps for money or taken by homeless people who use them to carry their belongings. (AP Image)
Hotel Deals For The Extreme Shopper
When stores in Indianapolis had a super successful Black Friday back in 2009, hotels decided to try and take advantage of visiting shoppers by targeting the <em>eve</em> of Black Friday. <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2010-11-14-black-friday-hotels_N.htm" target="_hplink">According to <em>USA Today</em></a>, the Conrad Hotel was among the first to notice this opportunity and advertised to serious out-of-town shoppers who planned on rising early to hit the sales. The deal offers $99 for a room on Thanksgiving night, as well as a personal shopping appointment at Nordstrom, a free coffee and a free shoeshine. Other hotels have also developed similar deals to cash in on the night of Thanksgiving, too. It sure beats camping out overnight for the doors to open in the morning. (Getty photo)
Shooting Over Flat Screen TV
Another story that will make your heart sink: the tragic shooting of a man in Queens who was shot by robbers on Black Friday back in 2009, as the<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/black-friday-mayhem-queens-man-shot-flat-screen-tv-thugs-t-fit-set-getaway-car-article-1.413993" target="_hplink"> <em>New York Daily News</em></a> first reported. The elderly man was walking with his new flat-screen TV in a parking lot, when robbers ruthlessly shot him dead in an attempt to steal his new purchase. However, the TV didn't fit in the trunk of their getaway car, and witnesses reported that they dumped the TV on the street as they quickly fled the scene of the crime. (Getty photo)