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Safety and Sales in the Skies: How the Cloud Can Rescue Black Friday

Safety and Sales in the Skies: How the Cloud Can Rescue Black Friday

Cumulonimbus are storm clouds. These thick masses of daunting cotton carry rain, hail, and thunder. My mind always turns to these threatening presences during Thanksgiving season, where the retail world’s annual cumulonimbus — Black Friday — dares to strike.

The grandest shopping date of the year, Black Friday traditionally occurs the day after you roast and devour your turkeys. Black Friday deals are legendarily rock-bottom. 50% of this, 80% of that. Anxious Christmas shoppers love loading their carts with almost obsessive-compulsive glee. But this day is not just laden with amazing deals; it’s also deadly.

Last season, unsuspecting Buffalo, New York customers were trampled by callous, bloodthirsty deal hunters at Target. They earned herniated discs as not-so-beautiful battle wounds. In 2008, Black Friday fiends stomped a Wal-Mart staffer to death. Who knew holidays could pose such risks to your health?

When I think about cloud computing, I wonder what scientific type of cloud would best describe it. Is our cloud a cumulonimbus, packing demise as it blows into town? Or is it a fluffier, gentler wisp, worthy of the Cloud Appreciation Society?

I have to argue for the latter, of course. Cloud computing can make Black Friday a little brighter — and a lot safer.

Advertisers have been expanding the calendar of sales timed for Thanksgiving, like T-Mobile’s Magenta Saturday. The cloud offers them an opportunity to distribute news about these more expansive sales to web-enabled consumers. No matter where they travel, shoppers who die (figuratively) for Black Friday can fetch retail tips on all their devices.

Cloud computing empowers purchasers as well. They can more effectively strategize exactly what they desire in a sale, by searching on the major engines (Google, Bing, etc.) In response, they’ll learn not only where the best deals are located, but also when to head there. Timing is everything for those looking to have their credit cards swiped — not their skulls.

I still can’t think of the exact type of cloud to picture cloud computing. If anything, I see our technological cloud as a vacuum for the sky. It clears up the darker elements of Black Friday. Savvy shoppers in the cloud can also enjoy a happier holiday. They get to their deals quicker than the masses, leave sooner, and get on with the leftovers.

I guess I’m imagining cloud computing more like a blue sky. It brings out triumphs, instead of tramples, for those on both sides of the buy.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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