Friday, November 28, 2008

A Rant: Black Friday

Black Friday.

You know, up until recent history, if you named a day "black" it would have meant it was a bad day. Perhaps it is a day to be remembered in human history as an example of what not to do. Perhaps it is a day that was pivotal in history, like "Black Tuesday" referring to the stock market crash of 1929. Well, now the only reason we see fit to call a day "black" is that it is a shopping day.

Interestingly, Wikipedia lists 15 separate historical events that have been nicknamed Black Friday ranging from 1869 to 2004. You would think we as a civilization could come up with something better after the third or fourth Black Friday.

Like this one for example: in 1939 there were some big fires in Australia that earned the nickname (by the way, this one was also a Friday the 13th). Maybe we could have chosen something more fire oriented like "Orange Friday" (because flames are orange) or "Charred Friday". Now I know those don't carry with them the same ring and dark overtones as Black Friday but lets be honest, overusing a name or phrase lessens it's effect as well. I mean, if I went around calling days "Black 'day-of-the-week'" every time I got a hangnail or stubbed my toe or had to work late or something, pretty soon people would stop paying attention to me.

Having established that the name "Black Friday" is both overworked and under payed, now we should look at how the Friday after Thanksgiving came by this unworthy moniker.

Again, according to Wikipedia, Black Friday, in this case, originated in Philadelphia in the 70's. It came from the horrendous traffic conditions present in the city that were a result of the combination of the increased number of shoppers and an annual football game between Army and Navy. Apparently the name originated from the people that would have to deal with the traffic: police, bus drivers, taxi drivers, etc.

So, some bus driver said it in the 70's and the media has been jamming it down our throats ever since.

Retailers build advertising campaigns around it and news outlets use it in their vast array of tactics to get you to watch their programming or read their rag. It is as a result of the media outlets that you have this post today. I got to work and decided to check a few headlines on the ol' iGoogle homepage and every third one was "Black Friday This" or "Black Friday That", blah blah blah. It's a testament to the fact that so little that comes out of news outlets is actually useful.

And now I plead with society as a whole to disassociate the name Black Friday with the shopping day after Thanksgiving. If it must have a name, then lets use something that isn't so beat to death. We could go with "Super-Mega-Deal Friday" or "let's-go-blow-our-available-credit Friday". If we wanted we could still go with a color. Being that the weather starts to turn gloomy in November we could call it "Grey Friday". Whether we abolish the name altogether or simply change it, it will be an improvement.


Within a short time of writing this I found the news story of a 34-year-old man that was trampled to death by customers at a Wal-mart in New York State. It's a great day to call yourself a human being.


At 4:41 AM, Blogger Miriam Higginson said...

Geez - who knew! I vote for "everyone else can go fight the crowds and wrestle for the deals - I'll stay home" Friday.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Haymonds said...

To me, "Black Friday" was spent at the cabin at Bear Lake with my family. I'll try "relaxing and getting over my turkey hangover" Friday.


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