As the Black Friday commercials stream on my television, radio and computer, I’m still confounded as to the point of this weird-to-me tradition. Yes, I find it strange that people would get up in the middle of the night to go shopping just to save some money. Especially since the last few years of Black Friday literally became Black Friday when people began dying due to stampedes at the door.
I only heard about Black Friday for the first time in 2007 from a friendly co-worker at the time. She asked me how early I’d be up shopping for Black Friday. I, a native New Yorker, had NEVER heard of it. She was nice enough to tell me what it was about sharing some of her Black Friday tips. As soon as she told me that she got up at 2am to go shopping, I knew that Black Friday was out for me. I wouldn’t get up that early except to get on a plane for vacation.
This year, I decided to do some research on this so-called holiday. Doing a Google search for “where did black friday come from?’ brought me the usual Wikipedia page, but led me to others. In the Mental Floss archives, the start date of the actual day is unclear, though it has roots in the early 19th Century. Wow, day-after Thanksgiving holiday madness way back then? That’s crazy to me.
And it also seems that pr companies were hard at work in the eighties to put a positive spin on Black Friday by pushing around the new meaning of the day writing “getting in the black” as a way for retailers to recoup sales lost on Thanksgiving (when people traditionally did NOT do any shopping). Back then, people let themselves be knocked into tryptophan food comas.
On News Blaze, I found a list of various “Black Fridays” full of tragic stories and events from stock market crashes to battles to natural disasters to the assassination of John F. Kennedy (d. 1963). After reading that list, I feel okay with NOT being comfortable with Black Friday as a positive shopping holiday.
Once again, the madness is here and even madder than before as stores are opening Thanksgiving night. Black Friday is not even here yet and already I’m over it. Please be safe out there and remember that Thanksgiving isn’t about holiday sales, but about spending time with family. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Feel free to share your thoughts about Black Friday in the comments.
This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Read Heiddi’s Full Disclosure here.