Thrill of a deal: psychology behind Black Friday shopping

97 million people planned to shop Friday

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Some experts believe that many Black Friday shoppers may be motivated by more than rock-bottom prices. Approximately 97 million people planned to shop on Black Friday in 2013; up from 89 million in 2012

Black Friday shopper Christina Fiallo of West Palm Beach was able to rattle off all of the stores she hit.

"Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, BrandsMart, Macy's, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21, Gap, Old Navy and Kohl's!" It is clear to see how seriously Fiallo and so many others take this day of deals. "You save some money," she said. "But it's more about the rush."

But that rush can turn ugly very quickly. It happened Thursday night at BrandsMart U.S.A. in West Palm Beach. Hundreds shoved and shouted their way into the store as employees tried to hand out coupons for its limited number of televisions. The line was being monitored, according to store officials.

Similar Black Friday scenes played out across the country including in Georgia and North Carolina.

What is really driving these bargain-hunters to such extremes? Palm Beach County psychotherapist Fran Sherman says that emotion plays a substantial role.

"It's not about getting that thing," said Sherman. "It's about how getting that thing makes us feel." Sherman said

Black Friday shopping has become a tradition in itself; with much more than just dollars on the line.

"It's a way of filling that part of your brain that needs to feel excited and happy," she said.

Grabbing even just one big Black Friday deal, Fiallo said, is enough to keep the 'tradition' alive. "I came to look at the Kitchen Aid mixer," she said after several successful trips to multiple stores.

Fiallo said her holiday shopping is now complete.


Print this article Back to Top