I trust that all of our American friends had a wonderful day of turkey comas and family time yesterday! In honour of another "national holiday" today, I dug up some fun and interesting facts surrounding "Black Friday". It's amazing to me that people actually want to subject themselves to the shopping craziness (personally you couldn't pay me enough to step foot in the malls for the next few days). The crowds, the lines, the fellow shoppers attitudes...no thanks...but I know that I am in the minority - so let's go ahead and celebrate this crazy day
1. Black Friday used to refer to stock market crashes in the 1800s.
Although it is now known as the biggest shopping day in the US, the term Black Friday originally referred to very different events. In the US, the first time the term was used was on 24 September 1869, when two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market on the New York Stock Exchange.
When the government stepped in to correct the distortion by flooding the market with gold, prices plummeted and many investors lost sizable fortunes.
2. "Santa Claus parades" were Black Friday's predecessor.
For many Americans, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has become part of the holiday ritual. But the event actually was inspired from the US's neighbours in the north. Canadian department store Eaton's held the first "Santa Claus parade" on 2 December 1905. Once Santa appeared at the end of the parade, the signal was that the holiday season - and thus, holiday shopping, had begun. Of course, consumers were encouraged to buy their presents at Eaton's. US department stores such as Macy's took inspiration from the parade, and started sponsoring similar efforts across the country. In 1924, New York saw the first Macy's parade featuring animals from Central Park Zoo and run by the store's employees.
3. The date of Thanksgiving was, indirectly, determined by holiday shoppers.
From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, in a custom started by US President Abraham Lincoln, the president would declare a "day of thanks giving" on the last Thursday in November. This could either fall on the fourth or fifth Thursday in the month. But in 1939, a funny thing happened - the last Thursday happened to be the last day in November. Retailers, worried about the shortened holiday shopping season, petitioned then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare the holiday a week earlier - which he did. For the next three years, Thanksgiving was known derisively as "Franksgiving" and celebrated on different days in different parts of the country. Finally, at the end of 1941, a joint resolution from Congress cleared up the matter. From then on, Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November - guaranteeing an extra week of shopping before Christmas.
4. Big Friday?
A New York Times report from 1975 locates the phrase "Black Friday" as a bit of Philadelphia slang. The city that first popularized the term was Philadelphia. Police officers, frustrated by the congestion caused by shoppers on the day, started referring to it derisively as "Black Friday". Unsurprisingly, retailers weren't happy to be associated with traffic and smog. So they tried to rebrand the day "Big Friday", according to a 1961 local Philadelphia paper. Needless to say, the term didn't stick.
5. Black Friday became the biggest shopping day of the year in 2001.
Although it's often touted as the biggest shopping day of the year, the day didn't earn the designation consistently until the 2000s. That's because, for many years, the rule wasn't that Americans loved deals, it was that they loved procrastinating. So up until that point, it was the Saturday before Christmas that typically saw the most wallets being emptied.
6. Black Friday has become an international affair.
Canadian retailers have long winced as their customers went south on Black Friday in search of better shopping deals. So now they've begun offering their own sales - despite the fact that Canadian Thanksgiving is a full month earlier. In Mexico, there is El Buen Fin, which roughly translates as "the good weekend". It's pegged to the anniversary of Mexico's 1910 revolution, which sometimes falls on the same day American Thanksgiving. It lasts, as the name suggests, the entire weekend.
Beyond North America, as online shopping has grown, retailers like Amazon have looked to Cyber Monday, first heard of in 2005, to promote deals for shoppers across the globe. While in China, the recently launched 'Singles Day' prompted sales of two million bras in one hour, making a pile that would be three times higher than Mount Everest.
7. Nearly 140 million unique consumers are expected to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to NRF's Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey.
The most popular item in the shopping carts on Black Friday is Apparel, with 64% revealing they shopped in this category, AOL advertising said. It is followed by electronics at 47% and Food/Beverage and Entertainment at 46% each. Most consumers, in order to avoid crowds and the cold chose to shop online. On Black Friday 2013, 86% of Home Goods purchases, 85% of Children's toys/games, and 47% of Entertainment purchases were made in online.
8. 12% of all shoppers on Black Friday 2014 will be under the influence of alcohol, according to a Time survey.
9. Two women have been camping outside Best Buy in Beaumont, California since 5 November, 22 days ahead of Black Friday.
Are you out shopping today hoping to score a deal?
What tidbit surprised you the most?
#9 and 10