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Some people look at this day with dread, others look forward to it with eager anticipation, while the rest of us just scratch our heads not knowing what to make of it. So, what am I talking about? Why, Black Friday of course, the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day in the US.
Why black and why on a Friday?
The day after Thanksgiving has come to mean one thing for retailers: it is the first day in the lengthy retailing calendar where a store could make enough money to see yearly losses [for bookkeeping purposes represented by the color red] turn into gains [represented by the color black]. They would have us believe stores had operated at a loss throughout the year until that one big day, Black Friday. On that day, they expect us to believe, is when enough merchandise is sold to reverse course and to begin to turn a profit for the year.
In reality, retailers don’t rely on just one day, even though some news reports still seem to indicate that the day after Thanksgiving is so vital to them. In today's environment, retailers spread their reliance on Black Friday further out; now it is an entire season, Christmas, that ultimately determines whether a merchant turns a profit for the year or not.
Cyber Monday is the online version of Black Friday and deals may be just a great, if not greater than Black Friday. One of the great things about Cyber Monday is that you don’t have to wait in line for hours to get the best deal and you can do it from the privacy of your own home.
Black Friday is a marketing scheme designed to motivate frenzied buyers who will stand in long lines for hours in the hopes of saving a few dollars on the latest junk imported from China. Then there are the store clerks who must rouse themselves up at 5 a.m. one day after eating Thanksgiving dinner and schlep over to the local retailer to wait on customers for twelve straight hours. Is there any wonder why this day is a black day? Hardly the expression of the Christmas season. Happy Black Friday!