It’s day two in America’s annual celebration of holiday consumerism: Cyber Monday, which will kill officeworkers’ productivity all day with deals from online retailers. But for a certain contingent of shoppers, Cyber Monday has one major pitfall: a lack of instant gratification, which is a major part of the Black Friday experience. The two shopping days have the same goal, and often the same products, but attract very different types of bargain-hunters: Which one are you?
Black Friday appeals to the tough, the brave, and the night owls — as well as those who like to show off their haul. Haul videos — in which shoppers, usually young women, display all of the goods they’ve purchased — showed up on the Web later Black Friday. Others used Instagram to photograph their purchases.
You won’t be seeing videos like these for Cyber Monday, since shoppers will have to wait until their purchases are shipped to record their reactions. Though better deals can sometimes be found on Cyber Monday — and purchases for limited-time-only deals can be just as impulsive — it offers less instant gratification and fanfare than Black Friday, which demands late-night espresso binges, sleeping bags in front of Best Buy, and a dedication to pulling yourself out of a tryptophan-induced food coma to make your way to Target for a late-night doorbuster sale. There’s no sports-like preparation to Cyber Monday: You could do it in your pajamas if you wanted to. It appeals to pragmatists, and those with less time on their hands.
The best thing about Cyber Monday may be that there’s no risk of getting beaten, trampled, left to die on a department store floor or pepper-sprayed in the Xbox aisle. So many of the Black Friday mob videos out there resemble the final scene in “Day of the Locust”: A crowd for a supposedly lighthearted event that turns frightening and violent.
But for the Black Friday aficionados, surviving the madness is a badge of honor. Not so for Cyber Monday, where shoppers will just try to get through the day without getting caught slacking off at work. Which day are you and what’s your haul?