When you read “Black Friday” you most likely think of shopping. If you do, you can thank the retailer in the 1980s who successfully transformed a very negative phrase into the positive discount shopping day. You may have heard that Black Friday references the “in the black” that retailers used in their old ledgers… in the black meaning that they were making a profit and in the red meant that they were losing money. I even remember learning about checking in middle school and being told to use red ink if you ever overdraft your checking account. I remember my parents correcting my teacher by instructing to never ever do this. If you don’t have the cash, don’t write the check… but I digress.
The first recorded “Black Friday” comes from 1869 after the American Civil war during the Reconstruction era. The U.S. gold market crashed. James Fisk and Jay Gould planned to profit from buying up all of the U.S. gold and basically hoarding it to drive up the prices. It worked for a while until President Ulysses S. Grant released the reserves flooding the market with gold. Prices dropped within minutes with thousands left financially ruined, and one even committing suicide. Come on! We’re seen It’s a Wonderful Life; we know that financial ruin can be awesome if Clarence isn’t around. Wheat and corn harvests also decreased in value by 50%, and the entire U.S. economy for years.
Nearly a century later, “Black Friday” was a term that related to the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, PA. “Black Friday” was used by police officers to describe the chaos from tourists visiting the city before the big game.
It took decades after this to spin a chaotic event into an in the profit/ in the black kind of day.
I normally don’t go out shopping on Black Friday anymore. Without little children who require big ticket items or designer toys, I don't worry much about major savings. I do go to the mall, just as I often do right before Christmas, because I love watching the madness especially when I do not need a thing. Two years ago, I spontaneously got engaged by looking at jewelry on Black Friday with my fella *giggles*. So, Black Friday is another one of our anniversaries :D
This morning with my fella as his mom's nursing her back to health for the last few days, I have been on my own. I miss him but it's been a full semester since I've actually been alone in my house... or alone for a few days! I've had a great day. I went to get a haircut and then headed to my folks’ to have my car oil changed. While this might sound weird, oil changing days are major father-daughter bonding times for me. It's where we share stories and come up with car problem-solving solutions. I wouldn't change these times for anything. After that, I went to two graveyards from my youth that I’ll post about later this week, and then I went to the ABC store (Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control… e.g. you can’t buy alcohol anywhere else in this state) which does have a Black Friday sale. So now I’m having a peppermint chocolate martini (apparently the drink of the season for me!) while I write this. Umm, excuse any tipsy typos :D
Did you go out shopping on Black Friday?