A Look into the History of Black Friday

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Black Friday is centered around discounted prices in stores across the nation. During this time, many focus on purchasing presents for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Alexus Floyd, Guest Reporter

Until the late 1960’s, the day after Thanksgiving was not always called “Black Friday; retailers have been trying to push people to shop the Friday after Thanksgiving since the late 19th century.

Around this time, it was very popular for various department stores such as Wal-Mart and Kohl’s to sponsor and advertise discounts on household items, electronics, clothing and toys, resulting in a lot of people going shopping to purchase cheaper items for Christmas.

According to “History of the Holiday Shopping,” by the 1930’s, the Friday after Thanksgiving had become the official start of Christmas shopping.

Many people found Black Friday a useful tradition on behalf of the lowered prices that people can afford for the holiday. However, this tradition made retailers unhappy with the length of the Christmas shopping season.

Black Friday started off on the fifth Thursday of November; whereas, Thanksgiving at the time was always the last Thursday of November. In 1939, President Roosevelt changed the official date of Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday in November, in order to lengthen shopping for Christmas as much as possible.  Retailers hoped that the change would boost sales for the stores and improve the economy.

Before having a daughter, Carol Dunn did not shop on Black Friday, but the first Thanksgiving Dunn spent with her family in 2013, things changed. Her family was filled with Black Friday strategies and she was pulled into their plans that Thursday night.

“It became clear that Black Friday was a family event in any household, and it was very useful with helping me not go into debt with the spending of my daughters Christmas,” Dunn said.

Dunn’s main goal was to find various low priced games and a 500g Xbox 360. “Sure, it’s a pain in the rear,” Dunn said. “But I’ve grown fond of this tradition because it saves money, and it makes me happy to see my daughters face when she receives the things she wants for Christmas that year.”

Black Friday is helpful but can also be a disaster. With cheaper prices for expensive items, shoppers can tend to become enraged and harmful to get the particular item wanted. On Black Friday, items are limited and may vary.

“Whatever’s there is there, when it’s gone there’s no restocking the shelves,” said Culloden resident Sarah Moore.

Preparations for Black Friday include more than just making a list and checking it twice. Shoppers tend to navigate fighting, trampling and madness in stores that has raised safety concerns among shoppers.

Although, Black Friday is not just for shoppers in search of savings. Some families take a more leisurely approach in their traditions. Instead of lining up in the dead of the night for that flat screen TV or PlayStation 4, they are avoiding the chaos by either shopping later in the day or even staying longer.

Dunn said when she goes out after Thanksgiving for Black Friday she feels petrified of what may happen. With the panic and chaos of the day, anxious shoppers function on little sleep.

“I always have a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach,” she said. “It’s not normally how I’d usually feel, but when thinking about those crazy people on the news, you can’t help but to think about it on the way there.”

When going Black Friday shopping the main priority among people is the get Christmas presents, but like local resident Carol Dunn stated it can also be tragic.

“There is always crazy stuff happening on Black Friday,” said Moore. “Always keep a sharp eye and avoid conflict.”