If you're a shopper, it's DEALS - BARGAINS - DEALS!!!
If you're a hunter...DUCK SEASON!!!
If you've got a big family or group of friends (or even just a small one)...THANKSGIVING!!!
And if your a retailer, well, it's BLACK FRIDAY...
Well, as old Uncle Jed used to say, "Let me tell you a little story"...
As this story goes, after an entire year of operating at a loss stores would finally earn a profit on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers spent so much money on discounted merchandise. The result was the “red to black” accountants concept of the holiday, and the notion that the Friday after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America’s stores finally turned a profit.
Back in the 1950's in Philadelphia, hordes of shoppers and tourists would flood the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that same particular Saturday each year. This long weekend after the Thanksgiving celebration became the "official" beginning of the Christmas shopping season in center city, and an absolute nightmare for the Philadelphia Police Department. It brought massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores were mobbed from opening to closing.
The police officers called it Black Friday because of the overwhelming workload and overtime hours required for them to manage the throngs. They had to work extra long shifts to deal with both the city street crowds and traffic, and it was anything BUT a "Happy Holiday" for them!
Sooooo, retailers used the name to reflect their financial success as a term of endearment, while law enforcement referred to it in quite the opposite manner. Both of these definitions continued to be argued for many years until sometime in the 1980's when retailers finally won out and found a way to officially turn Black Friday into something that reflected positively for them and their customers. This could also be attributed to two decades of urban spread to the suburbs and the shopping malls that followed.
Center City was not the shopping mecca it had always been, and the crowds simply became much more spread out. How many people hitting the stores at 4am even realize any of this in today's world of strip center shopping and outlet malls? Shopping on Black Friday has become as much of a tradition for many as Thanksgiving Dinner itself!
It's easy to picture Little Joe and Hoss hunting together on The Ponderosa...bringing home the feast...saying a blessing, followed by a toast, with an incredible bounty on the table. Then relaxing around the fire afterward telling stories with long yawns before retiring for the evening with a full belly and a grateful heart. This sounds a lot better than it was for those Philly policemen in the 1950's for sure, and in my book for the 4am shoppers of today!
And now we also have Cyber Monday???...don't even get me started.
Best of the Best to you and yours, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all.
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