What is Black Friday Really?

While this event is portrayed most often as being exclusive to the US, there are actually over 20 other nations that participate in this event. Every year, a few more countries seem to jump on the bandwagon, as well, as the idea of making more money through providing massive sales is becoming increasingly more appealing to international businesses, despite declining sales in the US. But the US is the birth-land of this event, so I will be focusing on it for the sake of fully explaining what it is.

Despite what most stories have you believe, Black Friday started around 1960 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists would flood the city the day after Thanksgiving to be prepared for the Army-Navy football game that happened on that Saturday of each year. Cops were overworked trying to deal with all the people, and shoplifters ran free, causing the term “black friday” to be pinned to the day.

Black Friday didn’t really take off as a national commercial event until the late 1980’s, when companies took advantage of the name and decided to try and make the event appear more positive. The only problem was, that developed an entire culture around bombarding stores in order to get that early holiday shopping done.

I’ll give you a hint about how that happened: pop culture and media advertisements. Stores began advertising their “Black Friday” deals, pushing to the public that it would be a one-day only sale of a lifetime deal. This happened on TV, radio, anything they could push it to that would gain an audience. And it did.

By the 1990’s, you start seeing depictions of it in movies and TV shows, with whole episodes or portions being dedicated to people trying to go Black Friday shopping, waiting in line or getting hindered for some reason. Even going as far as the mid-2000’s, shows, particularly comedy shows, would frame at least one episode about trying and failing to go Black Friday shopping, or going Black Friday shopping and basically participating in a Battle Royal-type scenario because of it. It became ingrained in US pop culture for a long while, only fueling the drive for Black Friday shopping.

Even now, there are still adverts for Black Friday sales. It gets mentioned on the news, on social media, on Youtube channels.  People make memes about it, we hear news about it (especially from Walmart, who is notorious for having straight brawls in their store).
It still gets talked about and remembered, meaning it will not be going away for a long while.

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