How often do we use a term or describe an act and wonder why?

Black Friday is just four days away. This day officially opens the Christmas shopping season. As many as 10 million shoppers cram the stores in search of bargains on this day. The concept of having a sale on the day after a major holiday makes sense especially since that is the only holiday that follows invariably on a day and not a date. That is, except for Labor Day which is the first Monday in September. That day to recognize work conveniently creates a long weekend, a day off. The Friday after Thanksgiving technically is a workday especially in retail and related industries. Workday or not, people hit the stores hard on Black Friday.

The description of a “black” something, especially related to commerce has usually had bad connotations. Probably the first Black Friday came in 1869 when President Ulysses Grant lowered gold prices leading to a depression. After that a black Friday in 1929 signaled the beginning of the Great Depression.

Taking the lead from these historic black Fridays, Philadelphia police began calling the Friday after Thanksgiving black Friday. They did this because of traffic snarls and hordes of unruly shoppers that have only spread. Continuing this ominous trend, unruly shoppers, over the years have acted out with numerous shootings, blasting of pepper spray, and stampedes causing deaths from trampling all done in the name of bargain seeking.

An attempt has been made to find something good to say about Black Friday beyond opportunities to gobble up bargain merchandise amid mayhem. Since traditionally losses are put in red ink and profits or positive notations have been put in black, this label can be turned to a positive. The revisionist use of the term Black Friday now describes this day for some as being profitable for sellers. This day puts them in the black and on the positive side of the ledger. Some might think that is a reach.

Black Friday remains a contact sport despite efforts to resuscitate the term making it positive. To put a face to it, Walmart, which is the largest retailer, records the most violence on Black Friday. Whether this is just because of their size is not clear. Looking a little closer into the statistics the most dangerous place on Black Friday is said to be the Walmart electronics department. If you plan to visit, wear a helmet and shin guards.

Black Friday’s place in our lexicon is established. Many retailers, including auto agencies advertise Black Friday bargain shopping for extended periods. Having been around for more than fifty years, half of our population has never experienced a year without Black Friday.

For those of you who prefer non-contact sports, pull out your computer and take part online with Cyber Monday which is the first Monday of December.


By Savvy Senior

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