The day after Thanksgiving used to be spent recovering from all the food that you consumed the day before, but these days, people all over the United States are creating a new kind of family and friend get together, otherwise known as Black Friday.
According to Knoxweb, the unofficial start to the shopping season begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving and some is linked with the Santa Claus Day parades that celebrate Thanksgiving with Santa showing up at the end of the parade heralding the opening of the, “Silly season.”
During the later part of the 19th century and the early 20th century, many Thanksgiving Day parades or Santa Claus parades were sponsored by the department stores, including the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Toronto Santa Claus Parade sponsored by Eaton’s in Canada. The parades were used by the stores to launch their big Christmas advertising push. Eventually it became an unwritten rule that no establishment would do any sort of Christmas advertising until after the parade was over meaning the official shopping season would begin the day after. Of course, that unwritten rule has changed in the past few years with some stores pulling out the Christmas merchandise around Halloween.
Of course, the official start of the Christmas shopping season didn’t come without controversy.
Back in 1939, the retail shops would have loved to have had a lengthier shopping season, especially after coming out of the Great Depression from 1929 to 1939.
The retailers that survived knew that much of America would be spending more for Christmas and wanted to get a head start when it came to the competition. However, there wasn’t a single store that wanted to be the first to start advertising before Thanksgiving.
Then President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date and moved Thanksgiving to the week before. This angered the public. Everything would have to be changed, including travel plans with some families refusing to move the holiday causing the holiday to be split between two different days. Some started calling the public holiday, Franksgiving.
Other controversies that ensued thanks to Black Friday included unreasonable demands on employees, which meant working longer shifts during Thanksgiving as some larger stores were now opening on Thanksgiving Day, something used to be unheard of.
One of the biggest controversies concerned safety and health risks. People are out of control on Black Friday and with less staff for crowd control, things could and do get ugly.
Another problem with Black Friday is that some manufactures were selling products that were made specifically for Black Friday with specifications that were lower than they would be any other time of the year.
Employees are often left with no other choice but to work or risk being, “Let go,” if they didn’t or don’t work on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.
In the past decade or so, some retailers are opening on Thanksgiving evening with Gray Thursday beginning at around 8:00 PM. This practice is beginning to fade as more and more businesses, including Knoxweb, will be closed to celebrate the holiday with family and friends.
This Thanksgiving Day take a moment to remember what’s important and don’t forget to thank your friends and family for everything that you are thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!