Black Friday, in reality, is a symptom of the plight that 30 years of Reaganomics has brought to working people in America. Right along with the frenzied rise of shoppers willing to fight each other at retail outlets across America, we’ve been steadily, for the last 30 years, watching the destruction of organized labor … of decent pay and wages and conditions for working people… We have Black Friday today because the wealthy elite have strangled their workers for 32 years, ever since Ronald Reagan’s election.
You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There’s another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.
We live in a consumer culture, and Black Friday is like the July 4th of that culture. It might be good not to live in this culture, but it terms of what we can do to make people safer at big sales, it seems more useful to try to avoid dangerous crowd conditions.
For those of us in the financial world, Black Friday has a strong negative connotation, referring to a stock market catastrophe.
As reported in the Forbes “Entrepreneurs” column on December 3, 2013: “Cyber Monday, the online counterpart to Black Friday, has been gaining unprecedented popularity -to the point where Cyber Sales are continuing on throughout the week.” Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, further advises: “If you want a real deal on Black Friday, stay away from the mall. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all part of Cyber Week.
I thought Black Friday was when everyone puts on blackface and steals children from Wal-Mart.
The National Retail Federation releases figures on the sales for each Thanksgiving weekend. The Federation’s definition of “Black Friday weekend” includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday. The survey estimates number of shoppers, not number of people.
The length of the shopping season is not the same across all years: the date for Black Friday varies between November 23 and 29, while Christmas Eve is fixed at December 24. 2012 had the longest shopping season since 2007.
Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952. It is a busy shopping day and is a holiday in some states. Many people have a day off work or choose to take a day from their amount of yearly leave on Black Friday. Some people use this occasion also to make trips to see family members or friends who live in other areas or to go on vacation. Others use it to start shopping for the Christmas season. Shopping for Christmas presents is also popular on Black Friday. Many stores have special offers, high discounts and lower their prices on many goods, such as toys, clothes, food and electronic gadgets and devices.
Black Friday is not a federal holiday, but is a public holiday in some states. It is not only the day after Thanksgiving Day but also the Friday before Cyber Monday. Many people take a day of their annual leave on the day after Thanksgiving Day. Many organizations also close for the Thanksgiving weekend. Public transit systems may run on their normal schedule or may have changes. Some stores extend their opening hours on Black Friday. There can also be congestion on roads to popular shopping destinations. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days in the USA. The states which have official public holidays for state government employees on “The Day After Thanksgiving” include Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
There are two popular theories as to why the day after Thanksgiving Day is called Black Friday. One theory suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. This usage dates to at least 1961. The wheels of vehicles in heavy traffic on the day left many black markings on the road surface, leading to the term Black Friday. The other theory is that the term Black Friday More than twenty years later, as the phrase became more widespread, a popular explanation became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit and therefore it is related to an old way of recording business accounts. As a matter of fact losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black ink. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, started making profits prior to Christmas. Many hoped to start showing a profit, marked in black ink, on the day after Thanksgiving Day.
In the United Kingdom, on the contrary the term “Black Friday” originated within the Police and NHS to refer to the Friday before Christmas. It is the day when emergency services activate contingency plans to cope with the increase in workload due to many people going out drinking on the last Friday before Christmas. Contingencies can include setting up mobile field hospitals near City Centre nightspots. The term has then been adopted outside those services to refer to the evening and night of the Friday immediately before Christmas, and would now be considered a mainstream term and not simply as jargon of the emergency services. The year 2014 marked the introduction of this event in Bolivia, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Finland, France, Ireland, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa and Sweden.
In order to organize well your shopping you should research the Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals in advance, because you have to consider that the shops are very crowded in these days. Make an itinerary and a shopping plan: be sure to check when each store opens. This may determine the order of the stores that you visit. Best Buy, which typically draws a crowd that waits for the doors to open, will be open at 5 p.m. Thursday. You could also make a night or weekend out of it, or you can also create a map of your itinerary, planning where to park and so on. Don’t forget about Santa: Santa will usually be available to take photos and meet children in the center atrium of most of the common hyperstores from this day, and every day until Dec. 24. Photo packages are also available for purchase. Bring your family: The adventure of Black Friday does not need to be rushed or stressful, and above all you must pay great attention and be careful, in fact despite frequent attempts to control the crowds of shoppers, minor injuries are common among the crowds, usually as a result of being pushed or thrown to the ground in small stampedes, while most injuries remain minor, serious injuries and even deliberate violence have taken place on some Black Fridays.
In 2008, a crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, waited outside for the 5:00am opening of the local Wal-Mart. As opening time approached, the crowd grew anxious and when the doors were opened the crowd pushed forward, breaking the door down, a 34-year-old employee was trampled to death. The shoppers did not appear concerned with the victim’s fate, expressing refusal to halt their stampede when other employees attempted to intervene and help the injured employee, complaining that they had been waiting in the cold and were not willing to wait any longer. Shoppers had begun assembling as early as 9:00 PM the evening before. Even when police arrived and attempted to render aid to the injured man, shoppers continued to pour in, shoving and pushing the officers as they made their way into the store. Several other people incurred minor injuries, including a pregnant woman who had to be taken to the hospital. The incident may be the first case of a death occurring during Black Friday sales; according to the National Retail Federation, “We are not aware of any other circumstances where a retail employee has died working on the day after Thanksgiving.”
Most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and some other states observe “The Day After Thanksgiving” as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, makes it a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. Similar stories resurface year upon year at this time, portraying hysteria and shortage of stock, creating a state of positive feedback.
Black Friday is a shopping day for a combination of reasons. As the first day after the last major holiday before Christmas, it marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Additionally, many employers give their employees the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailers in the country, big and small, offer various sales including limited amounts of doorbuster/doorcrasher/doorsmasher items to entice traffic. Recent years have seen retailers extend beyond normal hours in order to maintain an edge or to simply keep up with the competition. Such hours may include opening as early as 12:00 am or remaining open overnight on Thanksgiving Day and beginning sale prices at midnight. In 2010, Toys ‘R’ Us began their Black Friday sales at 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day and further upped the ante by offering free boxes of Crayola crayons and coloring books for as long as supplies lasted. Other retailers began Black Friday sales early Thanksgiving morning and ran them through as late as 11:00 pm Friday evening. Forever 21 went in the opposite direction, opening at normal hours on Friday, and running late sales until 2:00 am Saturday morning. Historically, it was common for Black Friday sales to extend throughout the following weekend. However, this practice has largely disappeared in recent years, perhaps because of an effort by retailers to create a greater sense of urgency.
In Canada the large population centers on Lake Ontario and the Lower Mainland in Canada have always attracted cross-border shopping into the US states, and as Black Friday became more popular in the US, Canadians often flocked to the US because of their lower prices and a stronger Canadian dollar. After 2001, many were traveling for the deals across the border. Starting in 2008 and 2009, due to the parity of the Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, several major Canadian retailers ran Black Friday deals of their own to discourage shoppers from leaving Canada. The year 2012 saw the biggest Black Friday to date in Canada, as Canadian retailers embraced it in an attempt to keep shoppers from travelling across the border. Before the advent of Black Friday in Canada, the most comparable holiday was Boxing Day in terms of retailer impact and consumerism. Black Fridays in the US seem to provide deeper or more extreme price cuts than Canadian retailers, even for the same international retailer. In recent years, Black Friday has been promoted in Australia too, so a lot of stores run Black Friday promotions both in-store and online retailers throughout the whole country.
Since the start of the 21st century, there have been attempts by great online commercial groups with origins in the United States such as Amazon to introduce a retail “Black Friday” everywhere and in 2013 Asda (a subsidiary of the American firm Walmart) announced its “Walmart’s Black Friday by ASDA” campaign promoting the American concept of a retail “Black Friday” in the UK and Europe as well. Some online and in-store companies have adopted the American-style Black Friday sale day, although others appear sceptical, with one 2013 comment piece in the trade publication Retail Week labelling it “simply an Americanism, which doesn’t translate very well.” In 2014, more UK-based retailers adopted the Black Friday marketing scheme than ever. Among them were ao.com, very.co.uk, John Lewis and Argos, who all offered discounted prices to entice Christmas shoppers. During Black Friday sales in 2014, police forces were called to stores across Britain to deal with crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers and traffic issues. Black Friday appears to be growing in popularity year on year in the UK and all through European countries where the sales are quickly increasing and mostly internet retailers have used the event as an occasion to attract new customers with discounts, but bricks and mortar stores have already begun to adapt the shopping event.
In Mexico and other South American countries like Brasil, Black Friday was the inspiration for the government and retailing industry to create an annual weekend of discounts and extended credit terms, El Buen Fin, meaning “the good weekend” in Spanish. El Buen Fin has been in existence since 2011 and takes place on November in the weekend prior to the Monday in which the Mexican Revolution holiday is pushed from its original date of November 20, as a result of the measure taken by the government of pushing certain holidays to the Monday of their week in order to avoid the workers and students to make a ”larger” weekend (for example, not attending in a Friday after a Thursday holiday, thus making a 4-day weekend). On this weekend, major retailers extend their store hours and offer special promotions, including extended credit terms and price promotions. The popularity of Black Friday is also increasing in India. The reason for this is the growing number of e-commerce websites. The big e-commerce retailers in India are trying to emulate the concept of shopping festivals from the United States like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Some websites offer information about day-after-Thanksgiving specials up to a month in advance. The text listings of items and prices are usually accompanied by pictures of the actual ad circulars. These are either leaked by insiders or intentionally released by large retailers to give consumers insight and allow them time to plan.In recent years, some retailers (including Walmart, Target, OfficeMax, Big Lots, and Staples) have claimed that the advertisements they send in advance of Black Friday and the prices included in those advertisements are copyrighted and are trade secrets. In South Africa, Austria and Switzerland, Black Friday Sale is a joint sales initiative by hundreds of online vendors—among them Zalando, Disney Store, Galeria Kaufhof and Sony. Over its first 24-hour run on November 28, 2013, more than 1.2 million people visited the site, making it the single largest online shopping event in German-speaking countries. There has been growing interest for black Friday in Poland as well.
The counterpart of Black Friday in China is Singles’ Day or Guanggun Jie, literally: “Single Sticks’ Holiday” that is an entertainment festival famous among young Mainland Chinese people, to celebrate the fact that they are proud of being single. The date, November 11th (11/11), is chosen because the number “1” resembles an individual that is alone. This festival has become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world, with sales in Alibaba’s sites Tmall and Taobao at US$5.8 billion in 2013, US$9.3 billion in 2014, US$14.3 billion in 2015, US$17.8 billion in 2016, and over US$25.4 billion in 2017. JD.com also achieved a sales record of US$19.1 billion in 2017, while Lazada drums up US$123 million. During the festival, Alibaba set a world record for payment transactions, with its mobile wallet app Alipay processing 256,000 payment transactions per second, in 2017. A total of 1.48 billion transactions were processed by Alipay in the entire 24 hours, with delivery orders through Cainiao (Alibaba’s logistics affiliate) reaching close to 700 million, breaking 2016’s record.
Black friday is both the day after Thanksgiving and also the day before Cyber Monday. The term Cyber Monday, a neologism invented in 2005 by the National Retail Federation’s division Shop.org, refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday based on a trend that retailers began to recognize in 2003 and 2004. Retailers noticed that many consumers, who were too busy to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend or did not find what they were looking for, shopped for bargains online that Monday from home or work. In 2010, Hitwise reported that: Thanksgiving weekend offered a strong start, especially as Black Friday sales continued to grow in popularity. For the 2nd consecutive year, Black Friday was the highest day for retail traffic during the holiday season, followed by Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The highest year-over-year increases in visits took place on Cyber Monday and Black Friday with growth of 16% and 13%, respectively. In 2013, Cyber Monday online sales grew by 18% over the previous year, hitting a record $1.73 billion, with an average order value of $128. In 2014, Cyber Monday was the busiest day of the year with sales exceeding $2 billion in desktop online spending, up 17% from the previous year.