Black Friday: Explained
Start writing a post

Black Friday: Explained

Time to question this unofficial corporate holiday.

Black Friday: Explained
Flickr/John Henderson

On a personal level, Black Friday has always confused me. Everyone just ate a ton and spent all day with their families—why would we want to go out and vigorously shop, fighting crowds? I totally see why other people want to go do it, but I’ve never quite understood the concept myself. While I’ve been Black Friday shopping once or twice, I don’t get that excited about it unless it’s an opportunity to spend time with family or friends. Don’t get me wrong; I am the queen of bargains. Still, I never seem to have the energy to go out into the jungle of shoppers early the day after Thanksgiving, or even immediately after Thanksgiving dinner. Many people, though—including my loved ones—are enthusiastic about Black Friday shopping, and it seems most other Americans are the same way. So, it’s worth looking at the reasons for this commercially-driven, unofficial American holiday.

The story usually goes that “Black Friday” earns its name from retail companies’ previous system of recording losses in red and profits in black: After spending most of the year “in the red,” the holiday shopping season begins, and the companies are “in the black” again in terms of profits. However, these color-coded records are not the real origin of the name of Black Friday.

Back in Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s, the Army-Navy football games the Saturday after Thanksgiving were a huge deal, and suburban folks would rush into the city on that Friday. Law enforcement was overwhelmed with not only the intense crowds but also the shoplifters that would take advantage of the mass confusion. Philadelphians began to refer to this day as “Black Friday,” and this term caught on by 1961. Retailers around the nation, who had already held this day as the commencement of their holiday shopping season, decided to adopt the term as well, but with a positive spin: They’d say the “black” represented the color of their profits, rather than the stress of that day.

Since I was little, though, I’d always assumed it represented the day’s hectic nature. I saw many of my family and friends gearing up to shop, and attended a few of these adventures myself. When I went, I saw people who were deeply stressed about this ordeal. On top of that, occasionally I would hear on the news that someone had been injured or, in a few extreme cases, even killed just trying to get through the madness. Sales are awesome, but are they worth that risk? I would say no. I also disagree with the idea of Black Friday being pushed back onto Thanksgiving Day itself. That completely defeats the purpose, and it comes too soon. On another note, I do appreciate many stores’ recent spreading of the sales into later in the weekend or online, that way more shoppers can avoid the lines and the crowds.

A day filled with sales? Heck yes. But placing this hectic shopping day where it immediately follows time with one’s family and being thankful for what we already have? Maybe not. This is absolutely a pipedream, but I wish that we could change the date of Black Friday. Everyone would have more time to prepare post-Thanksgiving, refine their shopping needs, and get in and out of the madness safely. It’s super great that these sales become available for the holiday season, and I would never advocate for getting rid of Black Friday altogether. I feel a similar way about Election Day--it should certainly occur, but why on such an inconvenient date? The corporate "holiday" of Black Friday should never override Thanksgiving weekend, which is a special time with one’s family and friends—and it should never be pushed back onto Thanksgiving Day.
Report this Content
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments