Black Friday’s History Comes Straight From Philly
Before the shopping crush, let’s talk about the origins of the famous Friday after Thanksgiving.
2020 will have limited seats at the Thanksgiving table, and the lines to get into stores the day after will (hopefully) be shorter due to the ongoing global pandemic, and huge spike in cases over the last few weeks. But the expected more time spent inside and away from others allows time to reflect on the traditions we hold so dear. So how did this national day of shopping begin anyway?
Philadelphia is the home to many things, including but not limited to the beginning of a now longstanding tradition of making long lines in the cold to get discounted items after an evening with family and tons of food.
According to The Atlantic, the actual ‘Black Friday’ slogan began here in the City of Brotherly Love in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Because of the hustle and bustle the day brought, dark name was a phrase used among those working in retail and public transportation who had to put up with the masses.
That weekend, the city was also flooded by around 100,000 fans, who attended the annual Army-Navy football game. However, when newspapers in Philadelphia started using the slogan, some establishments looked at it as a negative label and proposed other names like “Big Friday.” Sixty years later, it’s clear that it did not catch on.
On another note, the longstanding tradition has been kept alive because of the American love for shopping. Weeks away from Christmas and other holidays in December, allots for a multitude of shopping trips.
The mid-20th century also brought what economists call the ‘department store model,’ which is when those in small cities and towns went to cities for their shopping districts. It was a time before getting things delivered to your home in 2-5 business days.
But that all changed after World War II. With many Americans moving to suburban areas, more retail shopping districts became prominent in smaller towns. Then in the 80s and 90s, the Walmarts and Targets of the world were born, creating a new-wave shopping extravaganza.
The Black Friday deals, campaigns, and extended hours came into play to bring us to where we are today in 2020. Weeks away from what some wait all year for — blockbuster deals.
But with a pandemic and rising cases, what will that look like?
Already, sales and deals are being announced, there will be limited entry to the stores, and definitely no long lines, unless they’re socially distant.
Additionally, with the era of technology upon us, and cyber monday, (the cyber sales event on the Monday after black Friday) it seems like that will be what people will be gearing up for instead of risking COVID-19 for an Xbox that’s $50 cheaper.