Black Friday Launches Amid Consumer Retreat: Green Groups Seek to Shut Down Shopping; Wall Street Eyes Markets!

My wife and oldest boy went shopping at midnight last night.

It turns out the much heralded “Black Friday” launch of the holiday shopping season kicked off at midnight Friday morning at Wal-Mart stores around the country. (Wal-Mart stores actually stayed open 24-hours, kind of like a preemptive strike against other merchants. Not far behind, Kohl’s stores were open as early as 4:00am, and next year we’ll again see the shopping season kick off in the Sandman hours.) A Wal-Mart in Upland, California, closed for a couple hours, following a heavy crush of customers looking for super hot deals. Recall last year one worker at a Wal-Mart stampede was killed, so you’d think there’d be some gracious restraint.

In any case, ABC News reports that a sales boom may be a hard sell, as shoppers have cut holiday budgets by 50 percent. See, “Black Friday Blues: Half Plan Cuts in Holiday Spending.”

On top of that, environmental groups are playing Grinch this year, pushing to foment a backlash against consumption:

The day after Thanksgiving is known for shopping sprees, but “Black Friday” is getting blacklisted by environmentalists – and they’re hoping President Barack Obama will back them up.

“In the climate change sense, it’s not that every other retail day isn’t bad. This just happens to be the worst day for the environment,” says Bill Sheehan, executive director of the Product Policy Institute, a nonprofit that aims to prevent waste through better design ….

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference coming up next month, Sheehan and other activists want Obama and world leaders to step up attention to the effect of packaging. The administration has made energy-efficient buildings and power sources one of its top environmental priorities, but those areas account for only 21 percent of the nation’s emissions.

Perhaps these climate change freaks don’t read the Internet: Global warming’s a hoax, don’t you know.

In any case, enviro-Nazis or not, Wall Street’s watching closely to see if Black Friday brings a boom to markets and economic growth. See, “Black Friday’s Big Question: Hoping for Heavy Traffic.”

Cross-posted from American Power.

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