Ever notice how the color black tends to be a sign of evil? “The Dark Side,” the black plague, and darkness are all examples of the mysterious danger of black. Perhaps this is why so much crime takes place on “Black Friday,” the day when millions of people trade hours of sleep for hours standing in line. I think it is safe to say that Black Friday sprouts all sorts of danger.
What makes Black Friday so “black” and dangerous anyhow? Could it be the pavement thousands of people trample over to get to their favorite stores? Or the fact that it begins at 4 a.m. which is a time when most crime rates skyrocket and the light of the day disappears? Or perhaps it is the emotional and adrenaline rush of getting a good bargain that drives people to insanity. Whatever the actual reason, I feel like the combination of ideas sets the tone.
The name “Black Friday” was originally used as a sign of the day when the stores begin operating “in the black,” rather than in the red (stock-market terms for those of you who don’t know). Although this was the humble beginnings of the phrase, today’s connotation brings about a whole new meaning. Most people would define Black Friday as a 24-hour period of “shoppingpalooza” the day after Thanksgiving. The day is also known as a time when stores slash prices in half for early Christmas shoppers.
As the name has evolved so have the weekdays around it, for instance, some people have stopped calling Thanksgiving “Thanksgiving,” and now refer to it as “Gray Thursday.” This is probably because stores are starting sales earlier and earlier. Research showed that most customers would rather stay up late to go shop rather than wake up early, which is why Wal-Mart will be kicking off Black Friday this year at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
As if this isn’t enough to change the name of the holiday to Gray Thursday, there’s more. Halloween weekend of 2010 Sears held a Black Friday Sale to get an early start on some business. But even Sears was late compared to Target, who held a “Black Friday in July Sale” months earlier. How could this outrage get any crazier? Well, this is where the marketing folks get to be creative.