So, today is Cyber Monday.  A day when online retailers offer various deals on goods – always the Monday after Thanksgiving.  It’s sort of an electronic version of Black Friday, though I noticed plenty of ads for Internet bargains this past Friday, not just sales in physical stores.

As I recall from when I first heard of this day’s designation, the reason for this being a day of online deals is that people would return to work after 4 days off and would do a lot of shopping online, presumably because they have better Internet access at work than at home (FWIW, the Wikipedia article on the day bears this out).  I would guess that a lot more Americans these days have Internet connections at home that are perfectly fast enough for shopping, but now that the day is established for marketers, it probably will be a special designation for many, many years.

Here’s what I find confusing: offering all these deals would seem to encourage workers to spend their time buying stuff rather than working.  In other words, on this day each year, one segment of the business community – retailers – is attacking the productivity of the rest of the business community.  Are there employers that resent this marketing?  Have they tried to put any pressure on retailers (and would it do any good, since promotions like this seem to be very helpful to retails bottom line?)?  Do lots of employees run afoul of computer use policies today?

I googled a few news stories on this, and it seems like businesses do seem to lose a lot of productivity on the day, but they have different ways of coping with it.  Some places probably don’t have an issue, simply because they keep a tight rein on what sites can be visited from their network.  Nevertheless, this is one issue where the business community is certainly not of one mind (alth0ugh that community might be less monolithic in general than I give it credit for).