Black Friday is upon us. Is everyone ready?
It’s OK if you aren’t because the annual tradition is dying slowly.
Black Friday is well named. The term seems to originate with the Philadelphia Police, who in 1966 started to dread the massive disruption in traffic that put them all on overtime the day after Thanksgiving. The massive public expense for the benefit of retailers was given the dark moniker because it was something that the city wanted to dissuade.
It’s worth noting that this was the first holiday retail season after the debut screening of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in December 1965, which also decried how commercialism has destroyed Christmas.
Today it’s a normal feature of Thanksgiving. Newspapers, to the extent they still exist, burst with ads. Families sometimes go out and hit the stores together, which seems rather nice for those who are into it.
For all the hoopla, it’s a smaller share of holiday shopping every year. Retailers are moving to more specials throughout the seasons rather than focusing on one day. It only makes sense – but it’s tricky. They still have to feed the Black Friday beast with big discounts that lure people in – even if they don’t think it’ll work.
The problem remains that headlines will tell how Black Friday sales came in. A bad day will turn into reports of doom for the whole season.
Just ignore them and carry on. We won’t know what’s happening until into December.