By Kristie Rodriguez, Senior
The day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, a day where retailers open their doors at dawn in order to rev the public about giving promotional offers that will make holiday shopping cheaper. Even though this day is observed as one of the most overwhelming periods for malls and department stores throughout the year, the International Council of Shopping Centers recently found that the largest shopping day is not Black Friday but the Saturday before Christmas.
Let’s take a look at some of the history regarding the ever-evolving shopping culture that ignites the beginning of holiday shopping in the United States:
The term “Black Friday” came about in the 1950’s when law enforcement in Philadelphia faced chaos as a result as suburban shoppers and tourists flooding the city. Police faced long work hours to regulate uproars of traffic, overcrowding, and shoplifting that occurred on the day after Thanksgiving. By 1961, Philadelphia’s business owners and merchants attempted to change the negative connotation of the name “Big Friday”, but failed as the term continued to spread through the country through the 1970’s and 1980’s as “Black Friday” The term also used to refer to a past US financial crisis that occurred in 1869.
So as one can already tell, the concept of this day was one that denoted economic spikes and overwhelming activity involving shopping for discounted merchandise, yet the term was used differently throughout history to describe similar patterns that occur during the preparation for holidays. Currently, retailers define this day as the time businesses and stores begin to earn a profit, or “move from the red to black” after operating a whole year at a loss because of the rise in demand for gift shopping.
As technology continues to expand in everyday life, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cyber Monday became a more prominent time to get holiday shopping done. While the hectic nature of Black Friday offers incentives to the public with promotional offers, people will evidently find it more appealing to shop from their office desk than waiting a whole night outside of Macy’s locked doors that would inevitably flood with eager shoppers. Overall, the concept of “Black Friday has faced major changes throughout history and will continue to serve as hype for businesses during the holidays.
Rayman, Noah. “The (Recent) History of Black Friday Shopping” Time. 28 Nov 2014
Web. 21 Nov 2017
Pruitt, Sarah. “What’s the Real History of Black Friday?” History. 24 Nov 2015.
Web. 21 Nov 2017
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