Crowds struggle to get their hands on discounted goods!
In 1924 Macy’s started a long standing tradition, the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The day after Thanksgiving eventually became the official start of Christmastime. For stores, this meant the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The day after Thanksgiving would eventually be known as “Black Friday.”
Black Friday, as we know it, has only been popular since the 1960s. Retailers followed an unspoken rule that the Christmas season did not begin until after Thanksgiving. In Philadelphia, the Friday and Saturday to follow Thanksgiving became the busiest day of the year for traffic and shopping. The police in Philadelphia starting calling these two days “Black Friday” and “Black Saturday.” Black Friday caught on and eventually became popular outside of Philadelphia.
While store owners loved the results that came from Black Friday, they didn’t love the name. So in the 1980s, store owners thought they would redefine “Black Friday.” They claimed that it marked the time of year when stores went from being “in the red” to being “in the black.” “In the red” meant that a store was losing money. “In the black” meant the store was gaining money. This gave Black Friday a more positive meaning. Stores began using “Black Friday” to mark their biggest sales of the year.
What is Black Friday today? Stores don’t follow the same unspoken rule of Christmastime. Many stores begin setting out decorations and advertising Christmas sales as early as October. Store owners have learned to capitalize on Black Friday with “door-buster” sales. They open their doors earlier giving the first shoppers the best deals on the things that are most popular that season. The sales may last all day, but the coveted items go fast. People will camp out in the parking lots of stores so they don’t miss out on a good sale. Some stores actually start Black Friday sales as early as Thanksgiving Day!
Black Friday has become the biggest shopping day of the year, but not without dark consequences. Over time, the crowds have become less manageable, resulting in several injuries, and in some cases even death. Fights often erupt over the latest gadget or toy. Every year, countless videos are captured showing people getting thrown down, stomped on, and left behind as people cram through store doors.
Black Friday is a chaotic day full of overexcited shoppers. It is also a great day for stores to increase profits for the year.
Written by Stephanie Schaefer, 11/2013