HAPPY BLACK FRIDAY!!!
This is the day when retailers go from red to black on their balance books…at least that’s what we’ve been told. But is it true?
Not really. In the first quarter of this year, Wal-Mart reported $6.2 Billion in Operating Income. That’s a long way from “red” for the world’s largest retailer.
I’m sure some smaller stores struggle until the holiday shopping season, but the vast majority earn a profit all year long or they wouldn’t still be in business by Black Friday.
The real origin of the term dates back to the late 50’s when the Philadelphia Police Department’s traffic squad used it to describe the worst traffic jams which annually occurred in Center City on the Friday after Thanksgiving. [Source]
That’s the day when Santa Claus made his first appearance in stores and signaled the start of the holiday shopping season.
Over the years, retailers latched onto the name and mutated its meaning to better serve their interests. Now we feel like it’s our civic duty to help them out after their year-long struggle to keep the lights on.
Whether you agree with the season of conspicuous consumption or not, you can’t deny the power that came from popularizing a catchy term used to describe it…a term that has united businesses and shoppers on the same day from coast to coast for over 50 years.
“Black Friday” is an enduring example of the power of language when advertised effectively. Now, get out there and buy that 60-inch TV you’ve been eyeing for the past three months! Wal-Mart needs your help!