Black Friday… How far is too far?

As next week is Thanksgiving, so is what is known as “Black Friday.” This, which is considered to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, if not the biggest day for the retail markets. But where do we coin the term Black Friday from? Well according to Dan Fletcher’s Time article Black Friday may have got its origins from Great Depresson era in 1939 President FDR’s movement of Thanksgiving back one week in order to extend the holiday shopping season. However in reality, this change had minimal effects due to its late announcement. An updated definition in the 1960s came to conclude that Black Friday’s name had to do with the idea that a great number of retailers had the opportunity to mark budgets in the black signifying that they had made marginal profits for the first time for the year.

But today, the 21st century, what would FDR think of “Black Friday?” I don’t think that during his presidency he would have imagined that people would line up outside of shopping centers, malls, and departments stores beginning at midnight, when stores don’t open for another six to eight hours. Nor do I think that he could have fathomed the idea of the encroaching “Cyber Monday.” And certainly the notion of anyone being trampled to death, as there have been reports in previous Black Friday escapades, would be considered purely ridiculous.

And ridiculous is what it may just be. This year some of the biggest retail names such as Walmart, Target, BestBuy, and Toys R’ Us will be contributing to what’s known as the “Black Friday Creep”, meaning that opening times continue to move back and creep into the hours of the Thanksgiving holiday. while Walmart, BestBuy, and Toyos R’ Us will be opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Target employees will open be at work by 9:00 p.m. Anger has flared from store employees all across the country with petitions being signed, now with thousands of signatures, to push back opening times to at least the stroke of midnight on Friday.

As you can probably remember, similar situation took place last year.  Will these petitions do any good? Most people need these jobs, and store owners say that opening on Thanksgiving will just be another opportunity for families to bond while shopping. But what about the employees and their families? Where do we draw the line between family holiday and shopping’s greed galore?


2 thoughts on “Black Friday… How far is too far?

  1. Kevin

    Most people seem to be in agreement that retail should start in Black Friday — yet the retailers keep creeping. Some stores seem to be proud that they’re opening on Thanksgiving! I can’t help but think of poor Bob Cratchitt asking Mr. Scrooge to have off on Christmas Day. We’re not that far away.

    1. mwalbridge Post author

      The “Christmas Carol” analogy is perfect! You’ve got a bright mind. Too bad I didn’t think of that while I was writing. I totally agree with you by the way… it’s unfortunate for those employees who are forced to work on a holiday. And of course there’s not much for them to do because many of them need the job.


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