Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Black Friday is coming...

Black Friday: I always thought it was an American Tradition.  But in recent years in Canada we are seeing more and more advertising revolve around this strange day.

What is Black Friday? It is not a holiday, it is the day after the American Thanksgiving. How did it begin and what does it have to do with shopping?

So I decided to check out what is Black Friday and what does it mean.


Here are a few theories that I have found on the Internet.

Theory #1

Black Friday may have started in the 19th Century due to the popularity of store-sponsored Thanksgiving parades.  Santa Claus was at the end of the parade which was a symbol that the holiday shopping season had officially started.  So everyone would start their holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving. This information is from the Mentalfloss website  http://mentalfloss.com/article/31581/brief-history-black-Friday

Theory #2

Back in the day, there was an unwritten rule that the Christmas holiday season did not start until after thanksgiving. Therefore no stores would advertise holiday sales until the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The accounting term "In the Black" is used by retailers. The official start of the Christmas Season saw hugh profits so they went from out of the red and into the black. Hence the term: Black Friday.

Here is some interesting information about the American Thanksgiving from the Mental Floss site. http://mentalfloss.com/article/31581/brief-history-black-Friday by Haley Sweetland Edwards contributed to this story, portions of which originally appeared in 2009.

How did the date for Thanksgiving in states be the last Thursday in November?

" In 1939, the Retail Dry Goods Association warned Franklin Roosevelt that if the holiday season wouldn't begin until after Americans celebrated Thanksgiving on the traditional final Thursday in November, retail sales would be in dire straits.
 Instead of celebrating the holiday on its traditional day—November 30th that year—Roosevelt declared the next-to-last Thursday in November to be the new Thanksgiving, instantly tacking an extra week onto the shopping season. Unfortunately, this did not work out  Roosevelt didn't make the announcement until late October, and by then most Americans had already made their holiday travel plans. Many rebelled and continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on its "real" date while derisively referring to the impostor holiday as "Franksgiving." State governments didn't know which Thanksgiving to observe, so some of them took both days off. In short, it was a bit of a mess.
By 1941, Congress passed a law that made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November regardless of how it affected the shopping day that would become known as Black Friday."

Theory #3

Black Friday is the day of great sales that bring out  a darker side to the human condition. Many people have been hurt or even killed during Black Friday Sales.  Here is a list of some of the reports as per the Mental Floss website. The article A Brief History of Black Friday by Haley Sweetland Edwards contributed to this story, portions of which originally appeared in 2009.

In 2008, when 34-year-old seasonal employee Jdimytai Damour died from asphyxiation after 2,000 shoppers knocked him own and stampeded over his back after the doors opened at 5 a.m. at the Wal-Mart on Long Island, New York.

In 2010, nine people in a California shopping mall were injured, including an elderly woman who had to be taken to the hospital, after a rugby-style scrum erupted when gift certificates were dropped from the ceiling.

If you are interested in finding out more about the morbid and very sad aspects of Black Friday check out this website.   http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/

Theory # 4

According to researchers, the name "Black Friday" dates back to Philadelphia in the mid-1960s. The Friday is in between Thanksgiving and the traditional Army-Navy football game that's played in Philadelphia on the following Saturday. Needless to say there are many traffic jams, riots etc. The police called it "Black Friday" to describe their sentiments of the day.

Black Friday in Canada began in the late 2000s according the CBC website  http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/black-friday-bargain-shopping-shifting-sales-momentum-to-november-1.2845278  . This was mainly in response to curb cross boarder shopping.  Now Black Friday has grown so much in popularity that it will soon be Black Friday Week. The fine line between Canadian and American shopping trends are now blurred especially since most of the big box stores in Canada are American.  I am just stating the obvious.

 So if you don't feel like going out shopping on Black Friday curl up with a good book about a shopping and  find out how people's lives are intertwined around the inevitable shop.

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

The Sweet-Shop Owner by Graham Swift       

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber   

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan 

So if you don't have a chance to go shopping on Black Friday. There is always Cyber Monday! 


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