My “Black Friday” 2008 in St. Louis

November 30, 2008

“Black Friday” has become a relatively common term for today, the day after Thanksgiving in the USA.

dollarsignWikipedia says, “Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.

Wikipedia continues, Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employees have the day off, which increases the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often decorate for the Christmas season weeks beforehand. Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the term “Black Friday” has been traced back only to the 1960s.

Early-bird shopping stampede on Black Friday

Early-bird shopping stampede on Black Friday

More from Wikipedia, The term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. (see Origin of the name “Black Friday” below) More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers are in the black (i.e., turning a profit).”

Now, back to the local angle, here in St. Louis. Many companies give today as a paid holiday, and so this is a much anticipated four-day weekend. Whoo-whoo! Still, some companies do not give this day as a paid holiday, and many people who work for those companies still take the day as a vacation day to get the four days off.

photo courtesy News Pool

photo courtesy News Pool

A lot of people do begin their holiday shopping today. Some are “lone wolf” shoppers, who head out on their own on a lean, mean quest for the best deals and are laser focused on gifts that someone is counting on for Christmas and that are said to be in short supply. Some people thrive on the hunt for this kind of thing. These people are not particularly out to enjoy the day, will knock you down if necessary to get something on their list if you are standing between it and them, and they are truly scary. Other shoppers are “dog pack shoppers” and head out with a group of family and friends and a party attitude for a marathon day of stalking the sales store by store. These people aren’t scary, often wear silly hats, make lots of happy noise, and will wear you down with their high energy and excitement about shopping, if you have the misfortune to encounter them. I make it a rule never to go anywhere near a store on the day after Thanksgiving.

I am not a crazy-mad shopper at any time of year, and I can’t imagine giving up a quiet day at home to go out and fight the crowds today. I love having a quiet day off on “Black Friday,” being home in comfy clothes, catching up on reading, napping, or chores around the house. This year was a little different, though: I helped my sister and her daughter move.

image courtesy Triangle Moving

image courtesy Triangle Moving

My husband and I were part of her moving crew, and we carried boxes and hefted furniture from the townhouse to the trailer and then from the trailer into the new residence. You know I love my sister and her daughter to give up my lazy Friday holiday to do manual labor on a chilly, gray day. My husband, good man that he is, also did his part. We were on the scene with McDonald’s coffee in hand at 9:00 a.m. It always seems like an insurmountable job, when you start a move, but with some organization it eventually gets done. My sister is very organized, and she made things easier than they might have been otherwise. When my husband and I got home at 2:00, he hit the sofa, I hit the recliner, and we slept for about 5 hours. Did I mention that we moved my sister out of a two-story townhouse and into a two-story house? So, lots of steps. Lots and LOTS of steps, and she has some really heavy furniture. Plus lots of boxes. Lots and LOTS of boxes. Tomorrow there are snow showers predicted, so we are only too glad to have gotten her moved today.

I’m not worried about getting my own Christmas shopping finished in time. I always do, and I’m never a last-minute shopper. I started two weeks ago, and I did everything so far online. I am about 2/3 finished, and I have three-and-a-half weeks to finish up. No sweat. I have been receiving package deliveries every day for the last week and a half. I have a few things I need to buy locally, and I do hate not supporting the local merchants with all my purchases, but I only have so much time and energy, and online shopping really helps out with time and energy management.

Countdown to Christmas!

Countdown to Christmas!!!!!

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