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Fun on (Black) Friday: Be Careful Out There!

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So, did you go Black Friday shopping this morning?

I didn’t. In fact, I have never gotten up to join the Black Friday hordes. There isn’t a Walmart deal that can entice me to go shopping at 5 a.m. I like to sleep more than I like saving a few bucks. Not only that, I worked at Toys R Us in my younger days and once had to break up a fist-fight over a Power Ranger on Black Friday. It’s scary out there. You need to be careful.

But a lot of people do the Black Friday thing. In fact, I know people who make it an annual tradition complete with a pre-shopping-frenzy meal at some ungodly hour like 3 a.m. If this is you, more power to you. You do you. I’m going to take a hard pass.

My Black Friday tradition is to stay in my house as far away as possible from the mall and the mass of angry shoppers.  I have zero desire go out at the butt-crack of dawn, fight traffic, elbow through a smelly mass of humanity to get into a retail store, risk a fistfight over the last discounted laptop on the shelf, stand in a long line to pay for said discounted laptop, fight traffic some more and then go home exhausted only to find out my el-cheapo laptop broke in the melee.

No. Thank. You.

Too peoplely!

Do you know why they call it Black Friday?

Because it’s an awful day, that’s why!

Now, you have probably heard that the name derived from the fact that the busiest shopping day of the year gets retailers out of “the red” and into “the black” financially for the first time during the year. But this is pretty much propaganda put out by the retail industry because they don’t want negative connotations attached to one of the most important days of the year.

The first reference to this financial explanation for Black Friday was in the Philadelphia Enquirer in 1981. (According to Wikipedia, which we all know is never wrong. Plus there is a footnote. I didn’t read it. But a footnote means it’s a real fact.)

The earliest known use of “Black Friday” predates the Enquirer article by three decades. The term was used in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance in 1951, referring to workers calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving. At about the same time, cops in Philadelphia started using Black Friday and Black Saturday to describe the crowds and traffic congestion as the Christmas shopping season kicked off the weekend after Thanksgiving.  In 1961, a public relations expert recommended rebranding the days, “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday.” That went nowhere. The New York Times started using Black Friday to describe the busiest shopping and traffic day in 1975. You’ll notice traffic is a recurring theme here.

So, there ya go. It’s Black Friday because it’s an awful day.

Here’s an interesting sidenote: Black Friday isn’t the busiest shopping day of the year. According to USA Today, since 2014, Black Friday has yielded its mantle as the busiest shopping day of the year to ”Super Saturday,” the last Saturday before Christmas.

Well, anyway, enjoy Black Friday in whatever manner you choose. If you do go out, we’ll remember you as you were. Also, be considerate of your fellow Americans. Say you’re sorry as you shove people out of the way. And make sure you turn your phone horizontal before you video any Black Friday fist-fights!

Oh – and if you want to buy your loved-ones gold for Christmas (which I think would be a fantastic gift) you don’t have to venture out at all. Just call a SchiffGold precious metals specialist at 1-888-GOLD-160. If you want the genuine Black Friday experience, you might be able to talk them into yelling at you.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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