Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday

Beginning today, on the shopping holiday labeled “Black Friday,” it is officially okay to have Christmas decorations on view. They showed up in some retailers nearly a month ago, right after Halloween, but that was considered jumping the gun.

The name - Black Friday - originates from long ago when bookkeepers would write in their ledgers the profits in black ink, and losses in red ink. This became known as Black Friday because it is the day that, enjoying booming pre-Christmas sales, dry goods retail establishments supposedly flip over from a net loss for the year to a net profit. 

It probably was never true for genuinely successful firms - think Walmart or predecessor Kmart. Still the idea of hanging in there until you make a raft of Christmas sales persists and has some validity.

My initial thought was that things might be different in this era of “etail” online sales, but further reflection suggests online sellers have to maintain large, underused warehouses to accommodate the Xmas rush much as Macy’s and Sears did with retail space in years past.

It’s not surprising college students thought the name somehow held racial connotations, doesn’t everything seem to these days? In this instance it doesn’t, and never did.