After eating turkey and watching football, some shoppers have the tradition of immediately getting in a shopping line to camp out the night before a big sale (or nowadays, getting on their laptop to online shop) for Black Friday deals.
Black Friday has become something of a secondary holiday in the U.S. Colloquially, Black Friday is named because of the boost in sales before the end of the year, which traditionally brings stores from the red to the black.
According to Britannica, there’s a different story behind the name.
The term originated in “the early 1960s, when police officers in Philadelphia began using the phrase ‘Black Friday’ to describe the chaos that resulted when large numbers of suburban tourists came into the city to begin their holiday shopping and, in some years, attend Saturday’s annual Army-Navy football game.”
Now Black Friday is a consumer’s paradise, but is the holiday ethical?
While Black Friday is able to get customers great deals, there are also a couple of downsides: employees often have to work on Thanksgiving Day since deals sometimes are throughout the week rather than just on Friday. Black Friday also encourages excessive consumerism and materialism. One study found that 42% of consumers have regretted one of their Black Friday purchases.
It is a little ironic that immediately after a day that celebrates thankfulness, there’s a day that encourages consumerism. The Deseret News Editorial Board wrote last year, “Grateful people also tend to be more satisfied with what they already have, which really tempers that desire to shop for yourself on Black Friday. Research shows they also tend to value the gifts they receive more, which brings joy to the giver.”
A little gratitude can go a long way.
There are other pros to Black Friday. Not only are there great deals, but there can also be additional free gifts and special offers. Some have established traditions with loved ones where they go out and shop together every Black Friday.
But Black Friday can lead to overspending, according to a study of states that have the highest percentage of consumers that overspend on Black Friday, published in U.S. News & World Report. It’s easier to spend money when we think we are getting a great deal on something.
RetailMeNot conducted a survey that found nearly half of shoppers were planning to spend less during Black Friday this year, due to rising costs and inflation.
Whether you stay at home or go out, it’s important to think through the ethics of Black Friday.