“Black Friday,” the darkest day in the 365 days of the year. This is how I imagined it to be when I heard the two words on Radio for the first time and wondered about the Announcer’s excitement. They were offering discounts and providing attractive ways for people to spend money. I researched on the dark almost sinister words and realised, it referred to the day after “Thanksgiving” when the shopping season starts and people are looking forward to Christmas. A reminder that Christmas Eve would be around the corner; so you must BUY, BUY ALL YOU CAN!
Dig deeped and “Black Friday” has several origins…
ONE: The most plausible explanation would be when the words BLACK FRIDAY first found its place in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance , in November 1951 & 1952. It was a terminology used by the workers to call in sick after Thanksgiving Thursday, to use this opportunity as a longer 4 day holiday. (Thursday to Sunday). The people flocked shops to purchase goods. A shopping frenzy resulting in blocked roads, accidents, arguments, parking tickets, and many vigilant Police Officers who had to put in extra time to manage the crazy people grabbing goods.
TWO: The Police Officers officially called it “BLACK FRIDAY” because of the troubles it caused them and the hustling they had to do. Enterprising on this, retailers provided lucrative offers to attract shoppers.
THREE: Companies who hardly made a sale throughout the year were profited during Festival Holidays. They would usually mark their accounts in “red” when they made a loss and “black” when they made a profit; and post Thanksgiving, they made a “profit”. Hence, supposedly called it BLACK FRIDAY.
FOUR: It is rumoured that before Civil War, the Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by selling off their slaves, new children born to slaves as slaves after Thanksgiving on a Friday to celebrate and was called, “Black Friday”. Although this is claimed to be a rumour. The Native Americans Suffered as well. Read: Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Regardless, the festivities are catching on in India. Americanisation sinking in and BLACK FRIDAY now becoming the official festival promoted by Radio Channels, TV and Online Media. But do we need to spend so much and create a festival of it? Is consumerism important? What’s the most sensible thing to do on a BLACK FRIDAY??
- If this is an excuse after Thanksgiving to take off for a 4 day weekend, I would much rather spend time at home with friends and family. Let’s extend it to Friday, Saturday and Sunday… eat a nice home cooked meal with them and spread love.
- Take a trip to an animal shelter, senior home, children’s home, if you are alone… and buy material which will be helpful to them; assist them set things up to get things going.
- If the shopping bug is compulsive in the nerves then making a list of all the things, eliminating those which are irrelevant and then picking up important items which would have otherwise been expensive after the discounts are done would be a good idea. Shop wisely. Shop for yourself, not for the market.
- Sleeping it out is a good option. I mean who wants to crowd around in a shop and be flustered; come home with something you don’t need? Instead, working on yourself, meditating, reading those books you wouldn’t otherwise pick up due to lack of time, is a good option. Writing, showering, if you haven’t in the last few days.
- Making that trip to the gym and buying a ticket to health.
- Fixing broken things at home, the stuff your peers, family have been pestering you about for a long time and you have been avoiding.
- Catching up with long distance friends… go to a library, the books will be thankful.
- Scavenging through your closet and removing all the discounted items you bought previous Black Friday’s and didn’t use. Donating it to someone who might use it.
Remember the kind of impact this spending frenzy will have on the environment and the waste it would create. The lifespan of clothes have been cut by 75% due to influx of new clothes lines every month into the market; with the constant pressures of being in Fashion, people are purchasing unnecessary accessories and clothes which not only burn a hole in the pocket but create garbage. Electronics create another big chunk of waste which cannot be recycled or are not because it takes too much investment to recycle. Products bought online, if returned are immediately trashed; why.. because its cheaper to trash than to repackage and sell. Imagine the waste in the packaging?? So if you have to then make your purchases wisely.
There is so many opportunities a Black Friday can open up if we decide to make it more than a shopping day. Of course, we could save up a lot of money because Discounts don’t Count. Ultimately every purchase you make with or without discount is money spent. Spend wisely. Do you really… really need it?? Or are you buying it because its cheap? Would you really want to be caught up with pulling and fighting with people for cheap stuff on the line, or getting smothered in doggie love at an Animal Shelter, or lounging in your pyjamas at home? Make a choice and Have a great BLACK FRIDAY… 🙂
© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal