Black Friday, Yours or Theirs?

How well I could write if I were not here!

The Friday after Thanksgiving has long been called the single largest shopping day of the year.  It is a perfect storm of availability, as many American’s enjoy the day away from work, and transition into the Christmas season.

Retailers have hyped us into believing that today is itself a shopping holiday.  Early morning door busting openings and sales that once started at 7 or 8am are now launching at 4 or 5am.  The scene is surreal as sales carnivores are whipped into such a frenzy that one door greeter was actually trampled to death at a WalMart in Long Island, NY last season.  As inglorious a demise as I might venture to imagine.

But what message is actually being conveyed with our “Black Friday” branding?  For all the intrigue and mystery the name invokes, its roots are pretty boring and basic accounting.

In this nomenclature, black represents profit just as red represents loss.  Therefore, Black Friday suggests a day of great profitability in a sales season known to drive retailer profit/loss determinations for the entire calendar year.

And so think about that for a moment.  We’ve explored previously the idea that retailers have keen interests in separating you from your money.  How brazen then to so actively and collectively promote a day designed to their sustenance.  To be sure, I am certainly more scrooge than your average host when it comes to the commercialization of our more purposeful holidays, but I am not categorically opposed to retail.  Competitive retail is actually a principle tenant in my utopian vision, but so too are restraint and personal accountability.  Therefore, proceed with caution if you elect to participate.  Don’t let our merry retailers paint their books black while turning yours to red.

Photo By: Esther_G

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