Kat reflects that as the frivolity of Christmas is looming large upon the dark, wet and chilly horizon, this must also mean that the crazy present-buying frenzy of Black Friday is soon to be upon us.
Yes, that ‘madcap’ day of hugely discounted goods of all kinds, accompanied by the mass hysteria of shoppers clamouring outside superstores at six in the morning, (some having camped out all night), in order to run off armed to the eyeballs with TVs, gadgets, clothing, you name it… along with the inevitable challenges of trying to be the first to reach the biggest deals. Most of us will have seen the videos!
Luckily for me, I dislike shopping of any kind, so I tend to stay well away from all that nonsense. But it did make me wonder how and when Black Friday came into existence.
We all know that it originated in America, but did you know that the term Black Friday originally referred to a Wall Street financial crisis in 1869? This wasn’t the well-known Great Stock Market Crash of 1929, which heralded the start of the Great Depression, but its origins were very similar, in that two financiers risked buying huge amounts of US gold in the hope of prices soaring and selling at massive profits, when in actual fact the stock market crashed and left the Wall Street barons bankrupt.
Forward to 1950s America, when the sheer volume of visitors to an Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving, led to the police having to work longer shifts and struggling to cope with the carnage of traffic, ‘busyness’ and numerous shoplifting incidents on that day. The police ruefully referred to it as Black Friday.
Black Friday later became nationally recognised in print after appearing in an advertisement in an American magazine in 1966, and by the 1980s, it was routinely referred to by retailers linking it to their post-Thanksgiving sales.
Here in the UK, we have Amazon to thank for introducing it to us back in 2010. In 2013, Asda (owned by Walmart) held its own Black Friday sale, resulting in chaos as shoppers physically fought for bargains. It was well documented in the news.
Along with the profits generated from store visits, It will be no surprise to learn that Black Friday has generated massive increases in online profits for retailers, and according to IMRG £1.49 billion was spent on UK online retail sites in 2018.
So are you all set to grab yourself a ridiculously priced item or two on Friday November 29?
Me? I’ll be continuing with buying my reduced, nearly-out-of-date food and charity shopping which I’ve grown accustomed to! If there’s a bargain to be had, I’ll find it. And I don’t need a Black Friday, Saturday, Monday or whatever to do it!
With thanks to The Telegraph for the Black Friday info.