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Fri Nov 28, 2014, 10:35 AM

The Meaning of Black Friday

The Meaning of Black Friday
by Guy Rundle ~ 11.28.14 ~ Guy Rundle is an Australian author and journalist

~ When Black Friday devours Thanksgiving, capitalism consumes one of its sustaining myths ~

Black Friday began as a traffic accident. Or a series of them. In Philadelphia in the early 1960s, police noted that the two days after Thanksgiving were characterized by heavy traffic, and, in the pre-Nader days of perilous auto travel, more bloody mayhem than usual.

The relationship between extra traffic and downtown sales had been observed early on, and traders were unhappy that the ominous name was sticking to one of their best sales days. Doubtless this had happened elsewhere too, but in Philadelphia business had Abe Rosen as their municipal representative. One of the country’s leading PR gurus, Rosen suggested the city rename the two days after Thanksgiving “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday.”

< snip >

So it was inevitable that “Big Friday” would revert, for “Black Friday” is constitutionally mired in sin. By the time it stuck in the 80s, it had acquired a new meaning that cemented it. It was allegedly the day that retailers finally “went into the black” — made a profit — and shopping thus acquired a civic and patriotic dimension.

< snip >

As with all aspects of American consumption in the 2000s, it acquired a surreal aspect. The many objects being hoarded and carted away were so large, the malls were so big, the cars were so oversized that the spectacle was almost a parody of consumption ...

Much more here - https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/the-meaning-of-black-friday/



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TBF Nov 2014 OP
djean111 Nov 2014 #1
TBF Nov 2014 #2
djean111 Nov 2014 #3
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Nov 2014 #4

Response to TBF (Original post)

Fri Nov 28, 2014, 10:48 AM

1. Here is the Snopes info on the term:

 

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/thanksgiving/blackfriday.asp

I honestly thought the term was first used by the poor sales clerks who had to work on the day after Thanksgiving.

When I was growing up in Philadelphia, the day was just the Day After Thanksgiving, and we all braved the crowds downtown to see the magical and gorgeous Christmas lights and displays and windows at stores like Wanamaker's and Strawbridge and Clothier. Soaring music! And everyone was nice to each other, most people were looking up at the displays.

My 19 YO grandson asked me why all the Black Friday stuff has become so pervasive. I told him that, whatever the origins, I think that businesses recognise that people only have so much money to spend for Christmas, especially with the current economy, and every business wants/needs first shot at that money. Plus, a little bit of wanting to get the money NOW from people who wait for the after-Christmas sales.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 28, 2014, 10:55 AM

2. How does the snopes info refute my article -

because I have read both and don't see the discrepancy???

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Response to TBF (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 28, 2014, 10:56 AM

3. I was not trying to refute it at all! Peace!

 

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Fri Nov 28, 2014, 12:47 PM

4. I had 'always' heard the line about 'the day they go into the black'

which is pretty nonsensical on its face, given that (non-seasonal) businesses have expenses all year long and income all year long. Simply anticipating your overall costs and taxes for the year doesn't have any magic power. Sure, your sales might bump up pre-Christmas, but it's a damn poor 'businessman' who is willing to lose money 11 months of the year and 'hope' that extra December sales will pull him out of the red for the year. That's a person (or company) that needs a management overhaul.

I had a boss who ran both year round enterprises and seasonal ones, and his 'season' was determined by the time during which he actually made money - there was no incentive to stay open when demand didn't warrant it. He didn't create jobs, demand created jobs, and determined when the business was open.

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