What is Black Friday?
Black Friday has cash registers ringing every November 27. It’s the day of the year when retailers finally start generating profit, thus going from “being in the red” to “being in the black.” Get out your pocketbook and prepare to shell out some cash, because the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year!
History of Black Friday
First, there’s Thanksgiving — a day to be grateful for all life’s blessings. The next day, Black Friday, encourages you to give way to your greed by spending as much money as possible. Welcome to the official start of the holiday season! But the story of Black Friday is full of “official” and unofficial versions of its origins, starting with the name.
Black Friday originally referred to September 24,1869 when a scheme to manipulate America’s gold markets backfired resulting in numerous bankruptcies across the country. Even more troubling is the unsubstantiated story that southern slave owners allegedly got a “good deal” if they bought slaves on the Friday after Thanksgiving — “Black Friday,” indeed!
But, the story that’s most well-known about Black Friday is that retailers marked the day when filled coffers from holiday shoppers helped businesses go from being “in the red” to “in the black.” Although popular, this story is also not quite accurate. So, what is the actual story of Black Friday? We have to go to Philadelphia for that.
Philadelphia cops complained about “Black Friday” when they were stuck working off days and overtime the day after Thanksgiving. Packed downtown streets with hordes of shoppers, tourists, and fans in town for the next day’s Army-Navy game, meant that Black Friday was a haven for shoplifters as well as a crowd-controlling nightmare for the police.
Unfortunately, the idea that Black Friday was also a retailers’ headache did not entice Philly’s shoppers. By 1961, Philadelphia retailers decided “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” turning a negative into a positive by way of reinvention. In the 1980s, “Black Friday” became synonymous as a day for big deals in national retail. Today, Black Friday invites you to shop ‘til you drop for the best bargains of the year.
Black Friday has always been the epitome of American consumerism, but it did not start out that way. These days it’s all about shopping, where retailers make huge cuts in their prices and open their doors at extremely early hours for those who love to camp outside. People lining up to be the first is the whole idea behind Black Friday, so let’s learn more about it!
History of Black Friday
Black Friday has had a long history than its shopping holiday counterparts, as it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas holiday season since 1952 when the idea of shopping for Christmas gifts ahead of time became a popular concept.
Since it takes place the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday has been one of the busiest and most hectic shopping days of the year. The term “Black Friday” did not originate as a term for shopping, but rather a financial crisis according to History.com. In 1869, the U.S. gold market crashed, causing chaos for the Wall Street financiers.
The term wasn’t used again until the 1950’s in Philadelphia when police used the term to describe the chaos that ensued when suburban shoppers and tourists would flood into the city for the big Army-Navy football game every year.
It originally had a negative notation, but by the time the 1980’s rolled around, retailers reformed the term into a positive one, and most people saw this as an opportunity to create profit.
However, overtime Black Friday has stretched out into the Thanksgiving holiday, as retailers would start opening their doors earlier to allow customers to frantically buy their products. This has caused some safety issues, as crowds of people would flood stores to get their items, causing chaos at times.
Although in 2016 there were over 101.7 million people who joined the fiasco, that number has been decreasing significantly over time, as people have been switching from outdoor shopping to online shopping. Nevertheless, it is still a holiday that reigns with famous stories that continue to uncover the excitement of consumers.
How to celebrate Black Friday
If you’re willing to brave the large crowds in your favorite stores, then join them in the pandemonium that Black Friday shopping. It’s best to try and plan ahead, check out the deals your favorite stores are offering, and coordinate with your friends about where and when to go.
You can set alarm clocks, bring snacks, and dress for the occasion depending on where you are. Or if you’re not into the large crowds, then maybe watch from afar and wait for the commotion to be at ease. You also wait for Cyber Monday if that’s more your pace.
Black Friday Traditions
Waiting in line over night
Many people carb up on Thanksgiving dinner for the long, dark, cold wait in line outside their favorite store to get in when the doors open on Black Friday.
If you’ve ever seen the local news reports of people strong arming grandmas for 4K TVs then you understand the tradition of aggressive shopping on Black Friday.
Waiting for Cyber Monday
One of the best Black Friday traditions is browsing Amazon in the comfort of your own home in anticipation of Cyber Monday while watching other people trample each other to get the last BOGO Apple TV. Yes, it’s dark. Yes, it’s satisfying. Congrats on your life choices.