By now, you’re probably stuffed with turkey (or tofurkey), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. I know I am! In addition to being a day of widespread food hangovers, today is also Black Friday and/or Buy Nothing Day. The day after Thanksgiving has been known as the start of the holiday shopping season since the late 19th century. Department stores would sponsor Thanksgiving and Santa Claus parades, using these events as a time to launch their huge advertising pushes before Christmas. Eventually, this date became the official start of holiday shopping, with large retailers nervous to break with tradition.
Though the term ‘Black Friday’ originally had a negative connotation (referring to the horrible traffic jams created by the massive shopping day), now retailers have taken it to mean the time of the year when business profits are in the black, or no longer negative (in the red).
In recent years, there has been a pushback against the consumerism promoted by many large retailers. There have also been instances of violence as shoppers vie for the best deals. In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was knocked over and killed as shoppers stormed the front doors. From these concerns has emerged the Buy Nothing Day movement of actively abstaining from purchasing. Others advocate Small Business Saturday as a way to buy local and support smaller businesses.
What are your plans on this controversial day (besides eating Thanksgiving leftovers, of course!)?