The history of Black Friday isn’t as wonderful as retailers nowadays make the holiday seem. In fact, the term “Black Friday” is what Philadelphia police in the 1950’s used to describe the chaos that ensued each year after Thanksgiving day. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, crowds of tourists and shoppers would flood the city of Philadelphia for the annual Army-Navy football game. Philadelphia cops weren’t allowed to take off, and it was a big pain for them to deal with the crowds of crazy people. It was actually quite similar to Black Friday today, in that store employees have to control mobs of crazy, selfish, and greedy shoppers racing through the store to clinch deals before others can get to them.
The term “Black Friday” developed a whole new meaning in the 90’s when retailers aimed to remove the negative connotations behind the term and make it more positive. They did that with the notion that the day after Thanksgiving was the day that stores in America hit their largest profit. Thus the “Black Friday” tradition that still exists today was born.
Since then, this one day sales event has evolved into something a whole lot larger. In fact, it has spawned other retail holidays such as “Cyber Monday” and “Small Business Saturday/Sunday”, and has gradually become more of a “Black Thursday” than a “Black Friday”. Many Americans now spend Thanksgiving morning looking through papers and advertisements so they know what to buy later in the evening, since stores have lately been opening up Thursday evening itself! Although Black Friday is a family tradition for most Americans, I believe that it has been taking away from the spirit of Thanksgiving. The whole point of Thanksgiving is to spend time with family and friends, have a good meal with good company, and reflect on the things we are thankful for in life. It is a time to develop close bonds, create cherishable memories, and be happy. The mad rush for deals that’s associated with Black Friday is actually kind of embarrassing, and really contradicts the Thanksgiving spirit. People are diving into a pit of craziness and greediness on the day that is meant to be devoted to peace and gratitude.
Black Friday has always been an important Thanksgiving tradition in my family, ever since I was old enough to go shopping with my parents for a couple hours at once. Now, it’s something that I look forward to every year during Thanksgiving time. The huge crowds, deals, and the act of shopping late in the night is very exciting me. However, as the years have gone by, I’ve witnessed Black Friday morph into Black Thursday .
This year, JC Penney opened its doors at 3pm on Thursday, and offered coupons to the first couple hundred customers. Practically half of customers’ Thanksgiving day was taken away, because various other stores in the mall also started opened early and offered incentives for being timely. Most people shop at more than one store, and it’s impossible to visit all without an early start.
I value the importance and significance of the Black Friday tradition, but firmly believe that it should stick to being a Black Friday, not a Black Thursday. Family time and happiness are more important than savings time and craziness.
– Shruti Sathish
Categories: JMM Opinions