Historic holiday turned shopping nightmare

By BenitaZepeda

It’s official: The holidays are here. Once Thanksgiving happens, the next day is vital to all people seeking great retail deals.

Black Friday doesn’t refer to the start of the stock-market crash of 1869—it’s the most popular shopping day of the year.

Typically, around three or four in the morning, people line up outside of their favorite retail stores seeking deals for their holiday must-haves. Once the stores open, people rush to the aisles—sometimes, in the case of extreme shoppers with their route already mapped—which leads to trampling or killing people.

Black Friday shopping is survival of the fittest for some—a retail jungle of sale-crazed people hunting for the cheapest swag of the season. But for retailers, it’s always been a way to boost profit and keep their sales up, especially coming out of an economic downturn.

According to an article in Time magazine, the history behind calling this day “Black Friday” started with the idea that Thanksgiving was the first official shopping day of the holiday season. Ever wonder why Macy’s sponsors the biggest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country?

These sales helped retail businesses so much during the Great Depression in 1939, businessmen appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to change the date of Thanksgiving by moving it up a week earlier to extend the shopping season, which he did.

The term was used again in the 1960s to describe the influx of shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving. Later it was decided because balances on accounting documents used black ink to represent profit, it would be a good name for the occasion.

But like many traditions, especially ones that revolve around the holidays, people take them to a different level.

I would rather sleep the day after ingesting a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and spending time with family. This is a sentiment I grew up with—my mom was never one to venture to Best Buy at 3 a.m. to stand in line. She has participated in “Black Friday” only once, when she bought me a camera before I took a trip to Peru. Thanks for the sacrifice, Mom.

Aside from rare shoppers, such as my mom, I know people who are extreme in every way. It’s the type of person who is depressed for weeks if they don’t get the hottest holiday gift on sale or will lose their mind if they are put on a wait list for items such as a flat-screen TV.

Perhaps it is the thrill of knowing you might succeed in getting an item so many people desire—our society is driven by competition—but I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal. Maybe because I haven’t participated in Black Friday I don’t know the types of sales I am missing, but I can live with that.