Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a time to reflect on all the things that you are thankful for. However for millions of Americans it is a day that is the start of strategizing, jockeying for position, gathering the newspaper for current sale items, and getting your gear ready to participate in the hunt for “Black Friday!” That’s right – the day after Thursday’s Thanksgiving that actually now starts on Thanksgiving.
Have you ever wondered why the day after Thanksgiving is often referred to as “Black Friday”?
As much as you’d like to think so, it’s not because our wallets go into mourning as soon as they notice the thrill of the hunt in their owner’s eyes. One theory states that the day was thus labeled because of the heavy traffic and stress that are synonymous with Black Friday.
The accountant’s theory is more enlightening. Retail stores used to operate at a financial loss until that fateful day, when they would record a profit. Negative amounts were recorded in red ink and positive amounts in black. In simple English this means that Black Friday, for many stores, was the day they actually made money on their merchandise. Your money.
There are many reasons not to catch the Black Friday fever. Sure, holiday shopping is on the yearly to-do list. But getting up at an early hour of the morning to shiver in line at your store of choice and then get jostled by ravenous crowds to wait in another line is described as fun, adventurous, and worth the effort. It is also described as crazy, cold, tiresome and ridiculous. Regardless of how you describe it, there are certainly other ways to do your shopping.
Besides the much-advertised Black Friday sales, many stores get the jitters earlier. You can find great bargains, calmly and peacefully, a few weeks before the madness begins. The internet also provides an array of websites where you can check for bargains and compare prices on goods weeks before the shopping season officially kicks off.
You can even do all your shopping online, and save yourself the hassle – not to mention the gasoline. You’ll probably end up saving money too, since shopping online lets you select exactly what you know you’re looking for and your eyes aren’t drawn to every other item on display. The same goes for using good old catalogs. If you’re worried about breaking tradition, start a new one. You’ll be happy to know that retailers have even coined a name for online shopping.
The first weekday after the Thanksgiving weekend is now known as Cyber Monday. Doesn’t that sound a little less ominous than Black Friday?
So this year, don’t set your alarm clock for five in the morning. Get a good night’s sleep, and do all those things you never got to do on your day off. After all, there are so many other things to do besides waiting in a line.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!