Scary shopping season’s shocking sales start
There’s so much I’ve never understood about the utter insanity known as Black Friday shopping.
First of all, why do they call it that? Hmm.
I wasn’t certain, so I did a little digging.
Apparently, it’s widely attributed to the notion that retailers use the date to slash their prices and dump inventory … and to attempt to reconcile any deficits they’ve suffered throughout the past 11 months.
A last-ditch effort to get back “in the black” nearing year’s end, I guess. Or so claims a recent article on the phenomenon (which likened Black Friday as a plague second only to the bubonic one) in The Huffington Post.
Well, I do suppose that explanation sounds reasonable. Then again, so does the History Channel’s account. It goes a little something like this:
“During the crash of the U.S. gold market on Sept. 24, 1869, two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits. On (that particular) Friday, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.”
The piece (posted on their website) also noted that in the 1950s, Philadelphia police reinforced the dark undertone of BF because they loathed the kray-kray day due to ensuing traffic jams, violent outbreaks among impatient customers and, of course, skyrocketing shoplifting.
No wonder retailers tried in vain to rename the extravaganza “Big Friday” by the next decade. The new moniker clearly didn’t take — though the spectacle has not only survived, it’s become a tradition of nearly fanatical proportion for hundreds of thousands in many big (and even not-so-big) cities all across the U.S.
I actually know humans who set their alarms for 3 a.m. or so in order to “get a jump on the drive” to outlet malls so they can “beat the crowds” — but then invariably run smack into ’em anyway. This may be attributed to the fact that they “super spree” in marathon 12-hour shifts.
Yes, I’m talking to you, Gina. That specific Black Friday move has been her annual pilgrimage for many moons. You see, my sister is something of a professional shopper. Or what some might term a kooky nut. It’s a fine line. Either way.
At this writing, Black Friday 2020 hasn’t happened yet, though I know some stores have scaled back hours because of, you know, 2020.
Though I’m always glad to support Small Business Saturday (I hope you did), I’m not big on shoppin’, period (but I have been known to indulge in Cyber Monday mania occasionally).
Right now, I’m enjoying what I like to call “Solitude Sunday” — especially since this year, it coincides with the kickoff of Advent.
Ah, Christmas… NOW you’re speaking my language, capisce? #ItsTheHapHappiestSesasonOfAll
So, if you’re stimulating the economy this weekend or between now and Dec. 25 (or ever), please do me a few favors, kindly:
1. Buy local as much as you can;
2. Order from mom-and-pop restaurants if shopping plummets your blood sugar;
3. When in a public space, don’t crowd the other humans! (Quick shout out to the lady who stepped on me at Giant Eagle last week. BT dubs, they said, “Stay 6 feet apart,” not, “Squash random feet at the mart,” yo);
4. Wear. Your. Mask. SERIOUSLY.
Happy safe shoppin’, y’all!
— Kimerer is a columnist who doesn’t do Black Friday shopping — in 2020 or ever. Check out www.patriciakimerer.com — maybe she’ll post some cyber coupon codes.