For better or worse, Black Friday is here to stay. The biggest shopping day of the year, which falls on the day after Thanksgiving, has become a source of controversy in recent years as individuals pit the shopping frenzy against the ideals of family values and consumer responsibility. While some criticize the aggressive nature with which shoppers attack sales at major department stores throughout the nation, others applaud businesses for the enormous discounts, which often make Christmas purchases a bit easier on the pocket book. However controversial Black Friday tends to be, one thing is for sure, the once a year shopping phenomenon isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Where did Black Friday get its Name?
While Black Friday seems to have become a modern term used to describe the event in which millions of consumers flock to shopping outlets, the notorious nickname for the day after Thanksgiving is rooted much deeper in history than one might think. The earliest known use of the term Black Friday stems from the 1950’s when slews of workers began calling in sick on the Friday after Thanksgiving, turning the holiday into a four-day weekend. As years past, employers could almost guarantee plague-like symptoms that seemingly crept up out of nowhere, rendering the majority of their workers too ill to come to work that day. The phenomenon became so widespread that many businesses opted to give in and allow their employees an extra day off rather than be disappointed by low production and even lower turnout.
In the 1960’s police officers began using the term to describe both the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, which were the two days with more pedestrian and automobile traffic around the cities than other Friday or Saturday throughout the year. The large amounts of people, who were given a paid holiday on both Thursday and Friday, hit the downtown areas to begin their Christmas shopping, thus resulting in the beginning of the Black Friday tradition.
More modern versions acquaint the origins of Black Friday with bookkeepers who would see profits jump out of the red during the holiday season when consumers were spending more and more money. The day after Thanksgiving, which historically marked the beginning of Christmas shopping, was the day when profits would skyrocket, causing employees, store owners and their bookkeepers to use black ink, instead of remaining “in the red.” To fully take advantage of the extra influx of consumers, companies began offering large discounts and promoting big sales, attracting shoppers looking for a bargain.
Regardless of who coined the term or how it came into play, Black Friday has become synonymous around the United States for incredible sales and unbeatable prices. It is for that reason that masses of people head out for a crazy day of shopping mayhem when they might otherwise prefer to stay at home. The once a year sales event has become so big that other business realms have joined the action creating Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday in order to get in on their share of the shopping craze.
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