Friday, November 23, 2012

Why Is There a Black Friday?

I really do think I'm still in a food coma from yesterday. Raise your hand if you stuffed yourself silly on Thanksgiving. Now that every has been stuffed good and well, today a few will be pushed and pulled and also stuffed by people as they try to get their hands on the best deals for the u coming holidays on something called Black Friday. The picture above is something you won't see at any mall or super store today (or in some cases, last night) because the parking lot will be jammed packed. Black Friday seems to start earlier and earlier each year. I only experienced Black Friday a few years ago when I went on midnight to an outlet mall and I wanted to run the other way and to bed (to sleep off the turkey coma I was in).

So where did Black Friday come from and when did it start?

From Wikipedia: Black Friday as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869 in the United States.

The earliest known reference to "Black Friday" to refer to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving was made in a public relations newsletter from 1961 that is clear on the negative implications of the name and its origin in Philadelphia:Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in many Commonwealth Nations. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many non-retail employers also observe this day as a holiday along with Thanksgiving, giving their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005. The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black".

 Last year, 226 million spent close to $53 billion the weekend after Thanksgiving, with an average shopper spending around $400 on purchases.

I personally do most of my shopping on-line or brave the shopping masses in person 2 weeks before Christmas, because it seems the same Black Friday sales are around for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Black Friday is more of a psychological need the retailers push to the consumer to buy, buy, BUY!

Have you ever experienced Black Friday? If so what did you go to buy and would you do it again?



The Mighty Buzzard said...

I've completely avoided it since the time about twenty years ago that I tried to go to the mall to loiter and found a mile long line for the parking lot. That kind of headache I can do without.

Brie said...

Oh, the insanity! I admit that the temptation is there, but the insanity and the masses trump any desire I may have left (I love getting the newspaper filled with catalogs and bargains, love reading those). I do most of my Christmas shopping early November --not that I have that many gifts to buy-- and I do it mostly on Amazon.

ahz1 said...

In Canada, there really has not been a tradition of Black Friday shopping. As more and more US retailers move North, we now have Black Friday sales (which is kind of funny as we don't have Thanksgiving the same month as you guys do - ours is in October). We do however have Boxing Day - sales that begin at 1PM on the 26th of December. Those sales used to be insane but are clearly overshadowed by Black Friday. Personally, I have no desire to go crazy on the holidays, nor do I wish to buy my kids all sorts of junk they will just destroy or become addicted to (electronic games).
On the radio today they were talking about Black Friday and how the stores are targeting their shoppers by demographics. The targeted audience is the shopper that will wait in line, wants to be the first, and has a shopping story to go with the item they have purchased. Interesting, huh?
Anyway, happy thanksgiving to you and I hope you enjoy a peaceful Black Friday.

KB/KT Grant said...

Buzzard: Been there, done that also.

Brie: I do most of my shopping online. Great deals and now walking around braving the crazy masses.

AHZ1: I think the best sales are after the holidays. You can get so much on the cheap.