The day after American Thanksgiving is called Black Friday. Both the United States and Canada take part in the special occasion. On this day, small and large businesses, malls and grocery stores offer gigantic sales, unparalleled to any regular bargain throughout the year.
It is the celebration of consumerism in its prime; customers form endless lines and camp outside the shopping centers in order to obtain a position closest to the entrance. Once the doors are open, the crowd rushes in, everyone looking for their favorite products, now in lower prices. The stores take advantage of the “holiday” as much as possible; some employees are forced to come to work on the evening of Thanksgiving in order to sell more. Clients often choose to shop online, since an increasing number of companies offer such an opportunity.
Black Friday originated in the United States, but quickly spread throughout international businesses in Canada, Mexico, UK, France, India, and, oddly enough, most successfully in Romania. The shopping Friday might be traced back to Santa Claus Parades from the 19th century, which used to be financed by department stores. With time, the day after Thanksgiving, the last holiday before Christmas, became known as the official beginning of a present shopping season.
The term “Black Friday” first appeared in 1951 and referred to the routine applied by employees, who would take the day off work in order to create a four-day weekend. By the end of the decade, the Philadelphian police used the term for the traffic congestion and black car marks on the roads after Thanksgiving. In 1981, the Philadelphia Inquirer moderated the derogatory meaning of “black”, which commonly described unfortunate events in American history. The term now was connected to the store profit, which retailers used to mark by black numbers, as opposed to the red numbers that described loss and negative amounts. Black Friday emerged in its present form in the 1980s.
Black Friday is commonly known as the busiest shopping day in the year, though sometimes it is not the case. Advertising of these sales begins long before Thanksgiving, and more and more stores open before midnight, which is not strictly Black Friday yet. Others choose to extend their sales through Saturday. The tradition to keep the low prices for the whole weekend, however, is no longer practiced. Every year, the media coverage on the topic of Black Friday is very high. That is probably due to the fact that many accidents happen to the rushing, and sometimes violent, customers. Some victims of the crowd frenzy die or are wounded; in 2008, the mob crushed and killed an employer of Wal-Mart.
Such instances are less heard of in Canada, which adopted Black Friday in the 2000s. Initially, Canadians traveled across the southern border to take advantage of the low American prices, but in 2008 and 2009, home retailers decided to adopt the tradition of large sales. The biggest consumerist holiday in Canada used to be Boxing Day borrowed from the British; nowadays, Black Friday attracts masses comparable to those in the United States. The most notable shopping fever occurred in 2012.
Black Friday is not a federal holiday neither in the US, nor in Canada. Many American federal offices are closed, though, due to the introduction of the four-day weekend. Some private businesses and schools adopt this policy. Malls are more busy than ever; some clients choose to spend the whole day shopping.