Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is Black Friday Going Green? (ConsumerAffairs.com)

By Martin H. Bosworth - ConsumerAffairs.Com, November 22, 2005

"Black Friday" is the nation's number-one shopping day, with an estimated $8 billion spent on shopping in 2004. The day after Thanksgiving was coined "Black Friday" as the day businesses started to show profits on their books, i.e. "going into the black."

Many major retailers are now referring to the day as "Green Friday," in order to avoid the negative connotations of using the word "black."

Another source calling the day "Green Friday" is Mitch Goldstone. The online photo shop owner and credit card reform activist has been promoting "Green Friday" as a "day without credit cards."
Goldstone has been urging shoppers and activists to
use cash to pay for gifts on Nov. 26th, in order to draw attention to the high merchant fees banks and card issuers charge stores when consumers buy goods with credit and debit cards.

"We've been drawing a lot of attention," Goldstone said. "It's being observed by a lot of big companies."

Goldstone is part of a class action lawsuit against Visa, MasterCard, and major banks over the issue of interchange fees.

The nonprofit group Americans for Consumer Education and Competition (ACEC) has come out against Goldstone's crusade, saying that consumers prefer the convenience of using debit cards over cash.

"We are in a technological age where consumers want to streamline the process of purchasing, better track their own expenses, and maintain a certain amount of security -- which becomes challenging when they carry a wad of cash as opposed to one plastic debitcard," ACEC's national chairperson, Susan Molinari, said.

It's just not practical and it's not what consumers or retailers want."

Molinari cited as evidence another poll conducted by the NRF in 2004, which cited debit cards overtaking cash -- and credit cards -- as the chief purchasing tool for holiday shopping.