Did you ever wonder how the term “Black Friday” came to describe the biggest retail shopping day of the year, the official start of the holiday gift buying season? Well, if you have the courage to fight the unruly mob of bargain hunters this coming Friday, at least you’ll have some interesting facts to share with your fellow shoppers while standing in line.
So, after some extensive research on the “internets” here’s what I’ve discovered. There are actually many stories attributed to the name and the tradition.
•It is rumored that when accountants used to keep manual ledgers, the figures would show in red for may retailers due to poor profits. But once the shopping season started right after Thanksgiving, they started making money, hence the profits would be in the “Black”.
•Macy’s actually started the tradition of the shopping season right after Thanksgiving. In 1924 they held their first Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was essentially an advertisement to shop at, where else, but Macy’s.
•Supposedly in the 1950s factory workers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday” because so many people called in sick. Though not sure if that was because they were shopping or just hungover!
•During the Great Depression retailers begged Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving to an earlier date so encourage earlier shopping and a longer buying season. So two Thanksgivings were observed, the second one was know as “Franksgiving.”
•Originally “Black Friday” was the term used to describe the day in 1869 when falling gold prices caused a stock market panic.
• In the 1960s the police, cab and bus drivers in Philadelphia started to refer to the day as “Black Friday” because of all the trouble they had with traffic jams because of the mobs of holiday shoppers.
• “Black Friday” also shares the same date as “Buy Nothing Day”, the international day of protest against over consumerism.
And here are some disturbing facts about the former that makes me think the latter day is a better one to celebrate. Visit this article in NY Magazine to read more.
• 1998 a Michigan woman attacked a saleswoman because she rolled her eyes at her.
•2000 two women in Mississippi fought over a 39.95 scooter at a Walmart.
•2005 several people were trampled in big box stores.
•2006 nine people injured in California when mall drops gift certificates from ceiling.
•2008 Walmart employee is trampled to death.
So, I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to avoid the whole shopping nightmare on Friday. There is nothing I need to buy badly enough to put myself through that much stress and possible risk of injury. Not to mention it just plain saddens me to see how some people will behave toward others just to save a few bucks. It should be a season for celebrating love and kindness for all and gratefulness for what you have instead of the holiday greed fest it is starting to become for many. So, yeah, I’m going to be doing something fun instead!
Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving:)