Friday, November 23, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #52: Black Friday Edition

A Mother Life

Black Friday is upon us, everybody. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the quintessential American holiday, but, with its emphasis on family togetherness and appreciating what we have, it doesn’t really meet the festive American need to be financially crippled and deeply in debt. So here we are, the very next day – or, in some cases, the same day – or, in some other cases, days before – ringing in the Christmas season by buying overpriced, low-quality goods for people who don’t need them, and who, for their part, probably secretly hate us.

It feels like this.

Funnily enough, everyone I know claims they don’t participate in Black Friday. Of course, that could just be because everyone I know is awesome.

Love you guys.

1) People have been waiting in line for the best deals at a Best Buy in California since THE FREAKING TWELFTH OF NOVEMBER. That’s two freakin’ weeks, you guys. In a tent. On the sidewalk. In November. Sponge-bathing in a Wendy’s toilet. For two weeks.

What if, after all that, you overslept? ~ Jesus Rodriguez

2) Retailers like to claim that the term “Black Friday” came about because retail outlets, the poor things, operate at a loss for most of the year, and that they all rely on this one single day of the year to turn a profit and rescue themselves from bankruptcy. This, of course, is bullshit. Retail outlets turn a profit all year long.

While there are several theories as to the origin of the term “Black Friday,” the most popular one is that Philadelphia taxi drivers, bus drivers and police officers coined the term in the 1960s, in reference to the hell-raising traffic jams that occurred in commercial areas on this, the first day of the holiday shopping season.
Retailers started peddling their fake “Black Friday” origin story in the 1980s, for fear that the original connotations of the term could hurt business.

3) That said, shoppers spend unholy sums of money on Black Friday. This year, shoppers are expected to spend no less than $11 billion on Black Friday alone, which will make up only ten percent of total holiday sales in the U.S. Many of these people have only just finished complaining about the $2 billion price tag on Romney and Obama’s collective presidential campaigns.

Perspective: We doesn't have it. ~ Lars Ploughman

4) Lots of people are boycotting Black Friday this year, for various reasons. Some are upset that many large retailers, like Wal-mart, Target and Kohl’s, opened on Thanksgiving evening or at midnight last night, forcing their employees to work on the holiday or work crazy hours for the sake of some profit that no one really needs. Others disapprove of the rampant capitalism and commercialism that takes place in shopping centers everywhere, as 135 million people head for the shops. Still others are legitimately afraid that they or their children will get trampled to death, as Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour was in 2008, or pepper sprayed by another frantic shopper, as were 20 people (including children) in a Black Friday crowd at an L.A. Wal-Mart last year. 

Black Friday violence isn’t at all uncommon; last year in a Pittsburgh mall, female shoppers fought physically over yoga pants, and just this very afternoon, two people were shot at a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Christmas spirit.

5) According to Mother Nature Network, the real best time to get holiday deals isn’t the first few days of the holiday shopping season, but the last few. Retail consultant Jim Bieri claims that shoppers can get further discounts of 10 to 15 percent off holiday sale prices during the last few days before Christmas.

6) Black Friday is billed as the biggest shopping day of the year, but it’s not. The real biggest shopping day of the year is usually the last Saturday before Christmas, unless Christmas itself falls on a weekend, in which case, the biggest shopping day will usually be the last Thursday or Friday before the holiday.

See you there.