During a quiet moment on Thanksgiving Day about ten years ago, I had a marvelous idea. I decided that I would go Christmas shopping! So, all alone, I ventured out of the country to the Big City of Nashville. My first stop was the big mall over by the Cumberland River. I got there at 11:30 pm and only had to wait in line with six million other women and children until the stores opened at the stroke of midnight. The rush was exciting. People were happy, excited and talking 90 mph. We were ready to run into those stores and snatch up those great sales. We would in one single night, fulfill all the hopes and wishes of our loved ones and get a few for ourselves!!!
BLACK FRIDAY HAD BEGUN!!!
Looking back now, it was a little scary. Have you ever seen a whole family, mothers, sisters, children all dressed alike in Christmas pajamas wearing antlers on their heads? Or people running around grabbing clothing off the racks? We were all smiles for the first hour of our great adventure. That was before sleep deprivation started creeping up on us, the children started crying and I couldn’t find anything I was looking for. Who ever thought this was a good idea??? What exactly was BLACK FRIDAY, where did it start and WHY???
BLACK FRIDAY is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States and is the official beginning of the Christmas Shopping season. The term BLACK FRIDAY originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic, which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. The earliest known reference to BLACK FRIDAY was made in a 1966 Philadelphia newspaper. The name came from the Philadelphia Police Department because they always dreaded that day as it usually brought massive traffic jams and overcrowded sidewalks.
Much later, an alternative explanation was offered on the name. Historically, the retailer’s shift to profitability came during the holiday season. I was a bookkeeper (when bookkeeping records were kept by hand). Red ink in the ledgers indicated financial loss while black ink indicated profit. This is where the phrase of being “in the red” or “in the black” originated from.
CYBER MONDAY comes the Monday after Black Friday. It is a much newer term, created by marketing companies to persuade people to “shop online”. The term was actually coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman and made its debut on November 28, 2005. CYBER MONDAY is the biggest shopping day of the year, according to Davis and Silverman.
In 2017, online sales on CYBER MONDAY grew to a record $6.59 billion, compared with $2.98 billion in 2015 and $2.65 billion in 2014. However, the average order value was $128, down slightly from 2014’s $160.
CYBER MONDAY has become the online equivalent to BLACK FRIDAY and offers a way for smaller retail websites to compete with larger chains. It has become an international marketing term used by online retailers across the world.
Well, if we have Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving, what should we do with Saturday? We should SHOP LOCAL, of course. SHOP LOCAL was started about five years ago on a national level to promote local retailers. Shopping local creates jobs, employment and self-employment as these people in turn spend in the local economy.
One of the things I understand the most about local businesses is that they invest more in our communities. Local businesses are proportionally more generous in their support of local charities, schools, and community events. So supporting local shops means a financial contribution to your community.
Local businesses sell great products at affordable prices. Shopping local saves you time and money. You travel less, saving on time and fuel. It keeps us from losing businesses and services in our communities and shopping locally retains our distinctiveness. Local businesses are for everyone, especially important for the elderly, young people and others who rely on public transportation.
Local businesses value you. Numerous surveys show people receive better customer care and service locally. These businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you get a high standard of service.
So enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie. And whether you shop on BLACK FRIDAY, CYBER MONDAY or SHOP LOCAL, be on the watch for that herd of reindeer in Christmas pajamas. They will run right over you!!!