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Black Friday: Is this the Best Possible Name for this Day?

Just prior to Thanksgiving I started hearing about ‘Black Friday’ thinking, “what the hell…?” I learned that they were referring to the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers start tripping and shopping like they heard a starter pistol sound. All these years Inever even knew the day had a name other than Friday after Thanksgiving.  After learning it had a name its was natural for me to ask why Black Friday?
I figured it was just another signal of something negative or catastrophic which is what is usually prefaced with the word ‘black’. Rather than assume the worse, I simply looked it up. What I found amazed me.
 Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, signaling the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. It is marked by retail bargains and sales.  According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is considered the highest sales day of the calendar year. When businesses earn less than they spend they are said to be in the red. When businesses earn a profit they are said to be in the black. This shopping day is traditionally so lucrative that it often places businesses in the black.

  1. Shop til you Drop...From Exhaustion!
    Shop til you Drop…From Exhaustion!

    According to the American Heritage Dictionary online version, Black Friday is:

    1.  A day of economic catastrophe, as in We feared there’d be another Black Friday. This usage dates from September 24, 1869, a Friday when stock manipulators Jay Gould and James Fisk tried to corner the gold market and caused its collapse. The adjective black has been appended to similar occasions ever since, including October 29, 1929, the Tuesday of the market collapse that marked the start of the Great Depression, and Black Monday of October 19, 1987, when the stock market experienced its greatest fall since the Great Depression.

  2. Any day marked by great confusion or activity, as in It was just my luck to be traveling on Black Tuesday. This usage, too, is based on the events of 1869, marked by economic chaos. It has since been extended to other kinds of confusion, such as an accident hampering traffic during the evening rush hour.

I am really okay with these explanation for the Black Friday moniker, but I’m just wondering if there could have been a better name. Obviously, an advertisement agency was not consulted before naming this day–especially since it really isn’t true that its the best sales day.  From years of retail experience I would bet that the days closer to Christmas make just as much money or even more so than this far out from the holiday. I guess I was also relieved that it was not a day that somehow shone negatively on African Americans.  Unofficially, I awoke on this Black Friday of 2008, and instead of shopping til I dropped from exhaustion–I decided to work on my tan. The blacker the berry –the sweeter the juice.



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