Black Friday: A Day to Shop Until You Drop

: Emma Bartlett, Herald Contributor

As the Thanksgiving table clears and dishes are put away, Black Friday shoppers collect their coupons and prepare to race to the stores to find discounts. This unofficial United States holiday marks the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season and has been around for the past 66 years. Its name originated in Philadelphia by police officers to represent the sea of men and women in black coats and hats who mobbed the streets shopping for the holiday season the day after Thanksgiving. In the 80s, when Black Friday became a nationwide event, the name’s meaning changed again. “Black” referred to companies’ accounting records moving from “red” to “black” ink where black represented profit. Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for shopping, and in 2018, brought in $717.5 billion in sales which was a 4.3 percent increase in spending from 2017. Approximately 174 million Americans shopped during Black Friday weekend. In the past year, there has been a shift from shopping in stores to online, which may predict how Black Friday will play out in the future.

It is common knowledge that with major discounts come extremely passionate customers. Many individuals have been trampled, beaten, and stabbed all to get their desired items. Since 2006, there have been 10 deaths and 111 injuries from this shopping spree. There is even a Black Friday website which tallies the deaths and injuries, and it provides links to articles written about these events. The first death in 2006 occurred at a Long Island Walmart where a 34-year-old Walmart employee, Jdimytai Damour, was stampeded to death after opening the doors to shoppers. Two hundred people piled into the store and he didn’t have time to stand up once he was knocked over. In this year alone, two deaths and six injuries were added to the list.

In order to prepare shoppers for their outings, guides have been written so individuals can maximize their purchases and save as much money as possible. Preparing in advance requires analyzing ads, collecting coupons, creating a schedule and mapping out a plan. In the past, the majority of stores opened at 6 a.m.. However, as time moved forward, stores opened earlier and earlier until establishments like JCPenney, opened at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day waiting for customers to leave their families to go shopping.

Although Black Friday is a day of deal breakers, it is also a day to be aware of one’s surroundings. No one wants to make it on the Black Friday Death Count website for being hit by a car or having a tv fall on top of them in a store. So, next Black Friday, make sure to shop until you drop — just not in the literal sense.