The “Black Friday” weekend is on its way and motley crews of shoppers are twisting their Dick Dastardly Movember moustaches with a cheeky smile, coming up with strategies to win this yearly wacky race to the shop sales.
Going on the madness of previous years though, others are more likely in the MMA gym preparing to fight to the death over the 50 inch T.V they have their eye on!
It made me wonder where this madness all started.
The First Black Friday
The term “Black Friday” was first used in reference to a dark Friday in American history, the 24th of September 1869, when two unscrupulous wall Street Financiers Jay Gould and Jim Fisk were discovered to be buying up all America’s gold in the hopes of selling it on at huge profits. Once the scheme was discovered, President Grant crashed the market by releasing gold from the treasury. This resulted in a Wall Street crash that had huge ripple effects throughout the country.
However this has nothing to do with our use of the term that describes the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S.
Black Friday Begins
Big stores would have us believe that the term is in reference to the period where their books go from being in the negative “Red” into the “Black” profit each year and so they can afford to slash prices for customers to show their thanks for their custom all year. Although a nice idea it is a myth, a re-purposing of the term to change its true negative connotations into more agreeable ones for the general public.
The true use of the term in reference to the day after Thanksgiving was in the 1950’s in the city of Philadelphia, where it was coined by the city’s Police force to describe the day as one of the worst in their calendar. The chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban Christmas shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army vs. Navy football game (held on that Saturday every year), was a day of dread for the officers. Not only were they denied any chance of the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters were known to take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcements headache. Thus the day became “Black Friday”.
When the term started to spread into general use, the city merchants tried to change it to “Big Friday” in an effort to offset any negative connotations affecting business, but this failed and over the following thirty or so years the term spread throughout the rest of America. By the late 1980’s the term was widespread and merchants decided they needed to rebrand the term and use it to their advantage. The result was the “Red to Black” concept mentioned above. Since then the one day sales event has morphed into a four or even five day sale in places, with some shops in America opening sales on Thanksgiving and not finishing until the end of the following, and now “Cyber Monday”. In the mid 2000’s the idea spread to other parts of the world and now it is a global phenomenon.
But despite its rebranding the day cannot escape its darker undertones. In fact the more popular the event gets the darker it seems to become. Since 2006 10 people have died, with 111 injured as a direct result of the sales event. The first death on the record of aptly named website blackfridaydeathcount.com was in 2008, when Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour was crushed to death by greedy shoppers stampeding to be the first to get bargain prices on the day. Since then 9 more have followed, including two fathers who shot each other dead in a Californian Toy’s ‘R’ Us store on the same day in 2008. They died fighting over the last toy! With the spread of Black Friday, came the spread of the reckless insanity of people fighting over products in stores. Since then injuries have been registered in Britain, Ireland, South Africa and elsewhere. It’s a dangerous period to be out shopping.
Despite all this the Black Friday sales do offer customers a chance to purchase products that they need at better prices. In fact it can be the one time when certain products are affordable for some; though they should be able to buy these items without fear of injury! Luckily with the introduction of online shopping and “Cyber Monday” sales you can now benefit from discounted prices without having to join the MMA training camp in advance. Here at Agridirect.ie we will once again be offering sale prices across our site for the whole weekend, giving our customers the chance to avail of the best prices without having to venture out into the bull pen of stores. For all your farming needs or even a Christmas present for the farmer in your life, Agridirect.ie is the place to be this Black Friday weekend.
If for some strange reason you are thinking of something other than farm supplies, for instance, getting your house decked out for Christmas you can visit our sister site shopforchristmas.ie where you will find a range of Christmas decorations and trees that can be delivered to your door, all at “Black Friday” prices.
Save yourself the hospital visit this year and shop with us online.
It’s safer in the long run.