by MEGAN BRINKWORTH '16
Before Thanksgiving is even through, Americans are already thinking about Christmas. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is solely for searching for the best bargains. It’s about getting the best deals on all those Christmas presents, especially electronics and toys. The term “Black Friday” originated from the ink color that was used in stores’ accounting records. Red ink was used to mark losses, and black ink was used to mark a profit; hence the name “Black Friday”.
Over the years Black Friday has become more popular for better bargains on Christmas gifts than famed last-minute Christmas sales. In 2004, Black Friday passed the Saturday before Christmas, often known as “Super Saturday”, as the busiest shopping day of the year and has claimed that title every year since.
Thanksgiving gives families a chance to spend time together and often the festivities are carried over to Black Friday. Along with eating leftovers, families can spend more time together staying up all night to be first in line for the legendary Black Friday sales. It has become so popular that in 24 states, including Ohio, it is considered an official public holiday for state government employees.
Some consumers prefer not to stay up late and stand outside in the chilly winter weather just to secure these deals. Thankfully, most retailers now offer Black Friday sales online, emailing shoppers special online coupons anywhere from 2-7 days before the actual event. So instead of waiting in a long line outside the store, consumers can simply save time and money by shopping online.
Yet there are shoppers who would rather go to the store than shop online but can’t bring themselves to get up at the crack of dawn, still full from Thanksgiving. As of recently, items are discounted and put up for sale as early as the morning of Thanksgiving. This gives people the chance to do their shopping before even starting their Thanksgiving feast. Also, most large retailers give consumers the opportunity to plan out what they want to purchase before they enter the store by posting their ads and coupons online beforehand.
Despite recent bashing of Black Friday, studies show that Black Friday actually makes consumers happier. A Claremont Graduate University study found that coupons offer relaxation, and Black Friday deals have a positive effect on our brain. Neurologist Dr. Paul Zak found in a study that when female shoppers were given coupons, hormones linked to feelings of love and trust increased. The positive mental reaction to Black Friday is due to these feelings towards coupons. Eastern Illinois University conducted a study where researchers observed consumer behavior and emotions when stores opened on Black Friday. They found that calmness, happiness, and courteousness ranked higher than anger and anxiety.
Black Friday has been and always will be the unofficial start of the “happiest season of all”. There’s no better time to start Christmas shopping, for family, friends, or even for yourself.