Today, I want to talk about one of the most notorious shopping holidays of the year. After the turkey has been eaten, the football games have been watched and digestion is fully under way, millions of Americans turn to another holiday tradition: planning their Black Friday shopping spree.
That’s right! It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and that means it’s time to shop. Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving in the United States — signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
Although it’s not an official holiday, millions of employers give their employees the day off, and many people use that day to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping. In the 1950s, people began calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving, essentially giving themselves a four-day weekend. Since stores were open, as were most businesses, those playing hooky could also get a head start on their holiday shopping — as long as the boss didn’t see them.
Rather than try to determine whose pay should be cut, and who was legitimately sick, many businesses started adding that day as another paid holiday.
The history of Black Friday started much earlier than people think. The day after Thanksgiving was the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season since the late 19th century. President Lincoln designated the Thanksgiving holiday as the last Thursday in November. It wasn’t called Black Friday then.
That’s because the name was associated with September 24, 1869. Two speculators created a boom-and-bust in the gold market. Not sure, how many people actually knew that. Black Friday is November 24, 2017.
In 1941, Congress ended the confusion. It passed a law that made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November no matter what. Contrary to some accounts popularized on the Internet, Black Friday was not originally the day where slave traders gave discounts at auctions.
The Black Friday name itself didn’t become famous until 1966. That’s when a story appeared in an ad in The American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine. The Philadelphia Police Department used the name to describe the traffic jams and crowding in the downtown stores.
The best Black Friday deals are, surprisingly, not on Black Friday. Yes, that’s right I said it….the best deals aren’t deals. Many retailers, including Amazon, offer deals earlier and earlier, upstaging Black Friday itself. The competition this year is so fierce, stores are innovating new ways to get your dollar.
The recent popularity of Black Friday has spawned a couple new shopping holidays: Cyber Monday and #GivingTuesday. For those who are too busy to shop on Black Friday — or who just don’t want to fight the crowds — the Monday following Black Friday has become known as Cyber Monday for the many online deals that shoppers can take advantage of from the comfort of their homes.
#GivingTuesday was established in 2012as a day of generosity and philanthropy. On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, individuals, organizations and communities celebrate and encourage giving to charities and those in need. What a WONDERful way to celebrate the holidays!
Research reveals that the most deals for electronics are offered at the beginning of November. The best day for Christmas decor is November 22. Discounts are 23 percent on average. The best day to buy toys is the day before Thanksgiving.
The number of deals hit their peak the week before Thanksgiving. The average in-store discount is 20 percent for the entire week. That discount increases to 37 percent on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Saturday.
Five Steps to Great Deals
Use these statistics to get the best deals.
- Start your Black Friday shopping early. Online prices usually match those in the store, including door busters. They offer better inventory and free shipping.
- Use mobile apps to get alerts on the best deals. Go directly to the source, and get mobile alerts from the biggest discounters: Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Kohl’s.
- Many stores, such as Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s, now let managers either match or offer 10 percent below a competitor’s price. Like a used car dealer, they’ve become desperate to capture your sale rather than let you walk out the door. Don’t be afraid to haggle.
- Another new trend is name-your-own-price, the same strategy used for hotel reservations. Websites such as Greentoe allow you to do the same for home theater equipment, appliances, and even baby strollers.
- Don’t forget deals offered on Green Monday. It’s the last day to shop online and be sure your package arrives before Christmas.
Try It Out
Are you ready to do some shopping? Grab some friends and family members to help you check out these activities:
- What hot-ticket items are on everyone’s gift list this year? Ask an adult friend or family member to help you find advertisements from major stores for their Black Friday sales. Take some time to browse through the various ads. Which items seem to be really popular this year? Which store has the best deal on these items? Use your math skills to calculate the percentage discounts by comparing Black Friday sale prices to regular prices.
- As the gift-giving holiday season approaches, you may have started thinking about the gifts you might like to give to others. What better day to think about shopping than Black Friday? Take some time to start a list of gift ideas for others. Rather than buying something, it might be something special you do for someone else. How can you make someone else’s day with a special gift that comes from the heart?
- Is your community participating in #GivingTuesday? Check out the map on http://www.givingtuesday.org/ to find the nearest chapter to your home and learn more about participating organizations. Is there a cause that you really care about? Talk with your family about donating or volunteering time to an organization!