Black Friday brings in billions of dollars in sales every year. It's the most popular day of the whole year to shop, and the average person spends hundreds of dollars. You can typically expect traffic backups, fights in the parking lots, and winding lines before the stores even open. No doubt, shopping is the thing to do on Black Friday, if you have the patience for the mayhem.

Despite its popularity, it's fair to wonder just how necessary and useful Black Friday actually is. Much like other holidays, retailers have turned Black Friday into more of a season than a single day. Is it really the day to get the best deals? And even if it is, are the savings worth what you will certainly lose in time? What you will lose in sanity?

Here are reasons why Black Friday may not mean all it once did:

1.     Pre-Black Friday Sales

Black Friday isn't just a day anymore. For some ambitious retailers, it begins somewhere north of Halloween, when they start advertising "pre-Black Friday" sales. It really ramps up in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, as stores start trying to pull you into their brick and mortar and online locations with promises of Black-Friday-worthy deals. By the time Black Friday actually rolls around, you may already have seen all the best sales. They just hope you won't notice!

2.     Topical Days

Here's the full list of the Sacred Seasonal Shopping Days: Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. It's exhausting just thinking about it! Imagine putting on a full turkey feast for a huge group, then lining up hours in advance to take advantage of 11pm Thanksgiving Day Sales. How could anyone survive such an ordeal! By Giving Tuesday, wrists everywhere will have carpal tunnel from all that swiping. With tons of sales geared towards the other days on this list, Black Friday doesn't seem so critical.

3.     Outlets and Discount Sites

More stores are taking advantage of the opportunity for outlet stores, where they can sell imperfect wares or last season's goods. Some brands even create outlet-specific products to sell at lower prices. Outlets attract people into a brick and mortar location they'll be excited to visit, which in turn hopefully will draw them into a regular brick and mortar or online store. Retailers can also use their own online stores to sell these items. It's a win for stores and consumers, but makes the once-a-year nature of Black Friday seem less relevant.

4.     Alternative Sale Sites

From EBay to Craigslist to Etsy, there are lots of places to buy things online besides official marketplaces. More people are appreciating the value of a gently-used or homemade product. It feels vintage and artsy. It also frees people from the tyranny of the overpriced label and the madness of a big box store.