Black Friday, a popular day known for massive discount sales, is an informal name given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of America’s Christmas shopping since 1952, although the term “Black Friday” did not become widely used until decades later.
Black Friday is the day when retailers all over the world offer ridiculous discounts for a wide range of goods and products.
Each year the famous sales weekend sees a significant amount of shoppers head to stores and online brands in attempt to find the best deals for consumers goods.
It started off in the US as a marketing strategy to make money by focusing on volume sales and to move old stock by drastically reducing prices.
However, there are conflicting reports on the origin of the name ‘Black Friday.’ One explanation has it that the name came from the American police who describe the traffic chaos that occurs on the days of the huge discount retail sales as “Black Friday.”
Another claim says the name “Black Friday” came from the world of accounting: black ink on a company’s books symbolises profit, red ink stands for losses.
In 2014, a viral Facebook post claimed that Black Friday dated to the time of slavery in America and when traders sold slaves at a discount. A lot of black celebrities including Toni Braxton shared the post.
J.R. Smith, then a point guard for the New York Knicks, shared that Black Friday came from the slave trade.
His words: “It was the day after Thanksgiving when slave traders would sell slaves for a discount to assist plantation owners with more helpers for the upcoming winter (for cutting and stacking fire wood, winter proofing etc.), hence the name.”
But a report on Snope.com described Smith’s claim as baseless, saying that the earliest known use of the term “Black Friday” stemmed from the 1869 gold crash, Philadelphia’s police being overworked, and a practice of workers calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving so they could have more time off.
Black Friday has also been associated with stampedes, violence and unfortunate incidents. Since the year 2006, there have been 12 reported deaths and 117 injuries on this day.
One reason why Black Friday leads to sad occurrences is that the shoppers, in an effort to secure a place in front of the queue and buy their favourite items, put their safety at risk. These risky behaviours include blocking fire exits and emergency access.
Black Friday has also been criticised for promoting consumerism and capitalism as people often end up buying things they do not need.
Environmentalists and climate change activists have also argued that the overproduction of goods by factories during this time contributes to the harsh consequences of global warming.
Some people also believe that for the fact that there is no bargain in the goods bought on Black Friday soaks the day in greed and gives people a reason to be vile.
However, it is not all gloom for Black Friday shoppers. It has been found to have its own advantage for people who are willing to shop on the day.
On Black Friday, many stores offer giveaways to shoppers. Such giveaways may include gift cards, free entries into raffles or bags full of goodies. Such giveaways enable Black Friday shoppers to get some shopping done without spending a dime.
Also, budget-conscious holiday shoppers may find that Black Friday allows them buy goods without compromising their personal finances. It further affords shoppers to buy more goods than on a regular day.
Even though some insist Africans should not celebrate Black Friday for various reasons, many are unwilling to sacrifice the deals that would help them save money this weekend.