Tag Archives: Christmas shopping

Americana: Black Friday


People start scouring the Internet in early November to learn who has the best deals. Then they forgo sleep and queue up with hundreds of like-minded bargain hunters. Uploaded by sonyinsider.com.

If you’re old enough, and I have to admit I am, you can remember when the Christmas shopping season began on the day after Thanksgiving. Until that day, Christmas music wasn’t played, retail stores weren’t decorated, and nobody got up before dawn to go shopping. Over time, retailers got greedier – and I hate to use that language, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em – and shopping moved earlier and earlier in the year. But the day everyone pointed to – and they still do – is the day after Thanksgiving, which became known as Black Friday.

Uploaded by legalmatch.typepad.com.

While that term sounds strangely ominous, its origin is said to be that this is the busiest shopping day of the year, hence the day stores get “in the black.” It’s as good an explanation as any. Stores began opening at 6 a.m., then 5 a.m., and now some are opening at midnight. In fact, as popular as this day has become for bargain hunters, it may eventually disappear, since the greediest retailers are now staying open on Thanksgiving Day. Their greed is disgusting, and if I were the King of All Things, I’d have them lose millions when people stayed away.

In the meantime, shoppers begin scouring the Internet early in November to get an idea of the deals they can expect on Black Friday. Maybe a 50-inch HDTV for $995. Or a laptop computer for $249. They’ll line up waiting for the doors to open, and there will be a story or two about someone being trampled by crazed crowds. But the trend is for retailers to put their deals online, which may make the prices available to more people, and alleviate this crowd. Whether that trend takes hold or not, Black Friday will continue to mean once-a-year prices that some won’t be able to resist.