By Bethany Stewart
The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, can be described in one word: chaos. This is the day when almost every retail store in the United States has their biggest sales of the year. Many people camp outside stores to get the best deals of the day before they are all gone. Lines are formed to enter the stores, with limited space to shop once you are finally inside. Junior, Hailey Griffin, says that “Every Black Friday, I camp out with my mom at the Towson Mall, and as soon as the mall doors open, we sprint to our favorite stores. Sometimes we get trampled, but we try to buy everything we possibly can.” The news stories about shoppers fighting over items and passing out from all the shopping are almost unbelievable.
Some people literally do shop until they drop. Sophomore, Gabby Steinberg, has a Black Friday tradition that she has been doing for the past several years. She explains, “I wake up at 3 AM and go to the Hagerstown outlets with a bunch of my friends and our moms. We typically spend about $1,000, but we do get most of our Christmas gifts, so it is not just for us! Then, when we finally get home, we nap for a good six hours.” Many people avoid going out altogether, but no matter what someone does on Black Friday, it is likely they do not know the reason why this day is called Black Friday, or how the day actually came to be.
The term Black Friday was originally used to describe a financial crisis, the crash of the United States gold market on September 24, 1869. To this day, this stock market crash was one of the worst the United States experienced. The market crashed due to a conspiracy, set-up by Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, to buy up a large amount of the nation’s gold, and later sell it for an extremely inflated price. On the 24th, the conspiracy unraveled, causing the crash in market, and stocks to decrease in value. Although the crash occurred in September, Black Friday is used for the day after Thanksgiving, because prices are typically at the lowest point of the year on this day.
In recent years, the story behind the name Black Friday has shifted. Now, many people believe that it is called Black Friday because sales for these businesses are in the black on this day, black meaning that profit is being made. This is opposed to sales being in the red, and businesses losing money on sales. Although this is not the original story behind Black Friday, it makes sense as to why many people think this story more suitable. Black Friday is now a day where prices in stores drop dramatically, and people buy ridiculous amounts of various items.
Many people use Black Friday to get a lot of Christmas shopping done, but if you want to avoid the chaos, you can wait for Cyber Monday, where many businesses have similar deals online, and you can avoid the ridiculous lines in store. Cyber Monday could be the best way to avoid becoming the next viral internet video, fighting over the last sweater in the store. But if you are up for the madness, get ready for Black Friday, because it is right around the corner.