Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. It is the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States.

Black Friday myths

The story about Black Friday is that it is the first day American businesses operate in the black, having been in the red (that is, losing money) all year up to that point. This is not true.

Another story about Black Friday is that it is the biggest shopping day of the season and the day with the lowest prices. This also is not true.

In fact, the term began to be used in the city of Philadelphia in the 1950s, when hordes of suburban shoppers would travel into the city for the big Army-Navy football game played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The crowds were so severe on the Friday between Thanksgiving and the big game that the police had to work extra-long shifts just to handle crowd control. Shoplifting was an issue, too. The police officers called it “Black Friday” to describe the difficulty of their experience.

In the 1960s, the city tried to shift to “Big Friday” to erase the negative connotations. That didn’t work, but by the 1980s, the red ink vs. black ink story was widespread and Black Friday was an important custom for many people.

Dedicated shoppers spent time on Thanksgiving Day strategizing for their past-holiday shopping, and many lined up at major retailers in the wee hours of the morning to get the special bargains they were promised in exciting Black Friday ads. This is true in Puerto Rico as well as in the states.

The 21st century

In the 21st century, retailers extended Black Friday. In the states, it is followed by Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to shop with local stores — since they did their Big Box store shopping on Black Friday. Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, but Monday is Cyber Monday. On this day, workers who have gotten back to the office after the long Thanksgiving weekend spend their coffee breaks shopping online.

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Round the shopping event off off with Giving Tuesday, the day to donate what is left from your shopping funds to your most cherished causes.

And in 2022…

Black Friday got an unsavory reputation at one point for violence and injuries as people got carried away in stores, trampling workers and shoving other shoppers. The first death recorded took place in a Walmart store in 2008, and a stampede took place in a Puerto Rico store in 2013. Many stores decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day and even on Black Friday in recent years. During the pandemic, the Black Friday shopping scene settled down. Fewer shoppers headed into stores, and supply chain disruptions reduced the number of shopping options.

This year, with inflation, labor shortages, and even some lingering supply chain disruptions, many retailers have been offering early Black Friday specials throughout the month of November. Many shoppers are starting their holiday shopping earlier this year, either to spread the cost over the season or to avoid out of stocks.

The Weekly Journal also reports that residents of Puerto Rico continue to be nervous about catching COVID-18, a circumstance that retail experts think may reduce in-person Black Friday shopping this year.



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