Black is green
Black Friday can turn into some great money saving deals
For those who love bargains, it is the thrill of the year.
For local businesses in Carbon County, owners are hoping that many local residents choose to shop local for their holiday gifts.
For those that have to make a profit off sales for the year, it is often the beginning of a month long frenzy to catch up with projected revenues.
For some it is the thrill of the hunt; for others it is a day they will never go shopping.
It is a bargain hunters dream, if one likes crowds, pushing, shoving and sometimes some verbal exchanges with other customers.
It is Black Friday; the day after Thanksgiving, supposedly the busiest shopping day of the year.
But the 2011 Christmas shopping season could well be a different animal. The deep recession hurt holiday sales for the last two years and this year it is anybody's guess about what may happen.
Some say the recession is easing, but many others say it is getting worse.
The bargains may have already come and gone, profits may already be lost for the year and whether the crowds that flow into stores as early as 4 a.m. in the morning may not be as large as normal based on what a lot of people are saying.
"I think people are still scared to spend money after the way things have gone in the last year," stated one downtown Price merchant. "But I am positive about this shopping season. I think people want a nice Christmas this year."
It has been a year of highs and lows in business circles. The stock market has gone up and down this year, with the lows coming this past summer when Congress could not make a deal on tax cuts vs. tax increases to lower the deficit. In the last few days the super-committee that was supposed to solve that problem, failed. Problems in Europe have led to fears that failing economys there could hurt America too. Unemployment nationally has been tough, although in Utah it has been better. However, locally with two mines closing in the last year, things are hard. With all the uncertainty, Black Friday could live up to its visual name. But what it is really named for is far from what its color denotes today.
The origin of Black Friday is up in the air when its history is examined. When Macy's Department store in New York began holding its annual Thanksgiving Day parade in the late 1920s people started to see the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas as being the days to "shop." Then sales began to appear on the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally a day that an ever more affluent society began to take off to make for a four day weekend. But then changes began in the 1960s that would make the day after Thanksgiving become something more than just another holiday shopping day.
So for over 40 years the day after Thanksgiving has been called Black Friday with no one really knowing exactly from where the term emanated. Its beginnings, ironic in terms of considering the economy this year, may have come from the term Black Tuesday which is what the day was called when the stock market crashed in 1929, starting the Great Depression. At that time the term black attached to something meant extreme chaos or stress.
On the other hand some say it is called Black Friday because, based on the way old business ledgers were marked with red for loss and black for profit, that was the day of the year when merchants began sales that would put them into the profitable column.
Thus in the mid-1960s the day became Black Friday because as retailers got ever more savvy about attracting buyers, they began the Christmas shopping season with ever more lucrative deals on merchandise on the day after Thanksgiving.
But that was in the far past, when it comes to innovation in shopping. The next step in the war of bargains between stores was to open ever earlier in the morning on that day, thus attempting to attract the biggest crowds, who would spend their money there first before they could go to a competitor.
And the opening times for some stores are changing. Some big box stores are actually open on Thanksgiving, while others are opening for the Black Friday sales at midnight, Thanksgiving night.
As it seems with all holidays, now even the Thanksgiving weekend of shopping has been exteneded into the next week by bookending the weekend with a day called Cyber Monday.
Apparently after shopping the weekend sales physically, shoppers then turn to their computers to look for items or fill in holes in their shopping lists which they could fill with their store hopping.
It's a weekend for bargains, lights on ceremonies, first glimses of Santa Claus and a time to gather around the family and have fun.
It's also a time to support local businesses and service providers. See the ads in this issue of the Sun Advocate for the huge savings at local stores and shops.