Black Friday – only a day after Thanksgiving, but as the song goes – what a difference a day makes. After eating turkey all day long and loving those around you and basically feeling grateful for all the stuff you already have – it’s time to go to the mall and trample over people for a cheaper TV set, or a new PS4 Pro for half the price.
I get it – in modern times Christmas is like the biggest, most evil of casinos – it cleans you out and leaves you dry in the aftermath – who wouldn’t like to make it through the holidays with at least some of their budget in tact? Yeah, USA is the biggest economy in the world, but when it comes to buying Christmas presents, we all wish we had more money, or fewer family members.
But a question still remains: what is about Black Friday that makes people go nuts about shopping? Here’s 10 items of information on the most horror-movie sounding holiday of them all – Black Friday:
1. The original “Black Friday”
Originally the term „Black Friday“ used to be associated with many different events.
Way before the mall mania took USA by storm, prompting Black Friday to be awaited for more than the Christmas holidays it’s supposed to alleviate from its financial burden, there was a different reason for naming a day like Friday ‘black’. And it goes back to the 1800s, when the US stock market in New York crashed after a couple of speculators by the names of Gould and Fisk attempted to take control of the gold market by cornering it.
The financial instability that came out of that meant that the Government had to intervene in some way and correct the market. They did that rather clumsily, by flooding with so much gold, that a lot of investors lost a lot of money.
You didn’t really think that “black Friday” would be use to depict something good and family-friendly, did you?
2. Black Friday was there second. Santa was first.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was way before Black Friday.
You know Macy’s, right? Of course you do. For a vast majority of Americans, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is as much as a holiday as Christmas itself. But I bet you didn’t know is that Macy’s started a practice, similar to Black Fridays as far back as 1924, when in New York the first of their parades was launched. It was a grandiose happening, featuring lots of bells and whistles, not the least of which were animals, that the folks from Macy’s got from the Central Park Zoo.
But Macy’s weren’t the first ones to think of something like that neither. They actually got the idea from Canada, the neighbor that got us plenty of good stuff, and not just the bacon and maple syrup. As far as we know – the granddaddy of all Black Fridays happened there for the first time. It was the 2nd of December, 1905 thanks to Eaton’s department store. These folks for the first time in history held what they called “Santa Claus Parade”. Lots of songs, lots of candy for the kids and at the end of the even Santa would appear, signaling the start of shopping season, preferably to happen inside Eaton’s.
3. Historically the Thanksgiving date was something to be debated by retailers
Every American ought to know how Thanksgiving came to be.
It was sometime in the middle of nineteenth century when President Lincoln started a custom, later to be declared “a day for thanks giving” and it was to take place on November’s last Thursday. At that point this would mean either the 4th or 5th Thursday in that particular month.
In 1939 the President Franklin Roosevelt declared the holiday a week earlier, because the last Thursday was actually the last day of the month.
Of course, when it comes to holiday seasons, you can just give the calendar enough time and be sure it will spoil everything. Case and point – 1939, when Novembers’ last Thursday was actually November’s last day, period. For retailers that meant one short-ass shopping season, which meant huge loss in revenue, which was bad news indeed. They wrote a petition and sent it to Franklin Roosevelt (the President at the time), asking him to declare that Thanksgiving a week earlier. He did it and I bet that got him a lot of turkeys that year and the two after. Funny fact – during those three years people nicknamed Thanksgiving “Franksgiving”. It’s kind of cute, if you ask me.
The end of that came with a resolution from Congress in 1941.