Historically, the holidays have been a period where the love of family (chosen or biological) and capitalism collide. Black Friday often serves as a precursor for the annual gift-giving season. Ahead of this Christmas, shopping deals may feel a bit more urgent nationwide. The constraints of an ongoing pandemic linger into a continuing economic crisis making it difficult for everyday people to sustain.
Citizens customarily highlight the day following Thanksgiving as a way to buy more items for less from retailers. Even so, how many Americans know the origin of this designated sales day? One of our country’s most common myths surrounding the distribution of discounted merchandise dates back to Sept. 24, 1869.
According to a legend documented by History, “The first recorded use of the term ‘Black Friday’ was applied not to post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping but to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market… Two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits. On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.” Still, widely circulating something does not make it accurate.
Claim: Does Black Friday really have the best deals of the year?
Our Findings: False. While the notion of best is quantifiably subjective, Black Friday brings high-volume traffic to e-commerce platforms at large and in-store bargain purchases.
The above presumption’s era (credited for the rise of industrial America) theorizes shoppers no longer operating “in the red” and the country profiting enough to scale “into the black” following. However, this Black Friday terminology is not altogether accurate. In fact, the epoch associated with discounted buys and modern virally taped mayhem began in the 1960s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Further, one day of annual sales does not invalidate all the others.
CBS News registered in 2020, “Consumers pounced on discounts and deals Cyber Monday, making it the single largest day for online sales in U.S. history. Shoppers spent a record $10.8 billion Monday, marking an all-time high for e-commerce spending… according to Adobe Analytics.” Even so, a year’s most momentous day in e-commerce buys is not likely to continually equate to its grandest markdowns.
Per The New York Times concerning Black Friday’s source, “Tourists would descend on [Philadelphia] on the day between Thanksgiving and the annual Army-Navy football game held on Saturday. Historians say the Philadelphia police took to calling the day Black Friday because officers had to work long hours and [dealt] with terrible traffic… and other crowd-related miseries.” While the mentioned influx of visitors inspired the desire to lure customers into local businesses on Black Friday, derogatory inferences were attached to concepts surrounding Blackness, i.e., Black Country, Black Tuesday, past Black American annals, the subsequently dated Black Monday, etc.
The archives presented eclectic nuances to navigate. However, corporation owners’ endeavors to rebrand the fourth Friday of November as “Big Friday” were largely unsuccessful. While today we know Black Friday as a valued calendar date leading into separate celebrations such as Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, rating one’s largest potential savings day is primarily contingent upon what items they hope to acquire.
Also, circumstances are not necessarily becoming easier financially for those struggling against this pandemic. For example, CNBC ran a report tracking retailers‘ websites in tandem with Adobe Analytics and found, “Electronics… are expected to peak at 22% discounts during the holiday season versus 27% in 2020.” Budgeting has case-by-case effects.
So, the ensuing bargain finders may also achieve considerable success alongside Small Business Saturday or other holiday commodities. TechRadar wrote, “Cyber Monday and Black Friday generally feature deals of similar quality. Both events also cover a similar range of categories.” What is viewed as greater than or less than relies upon one’s preference.
Online shopping and promo code usage has peaked in the age of COVID-19. “During a survey… 60 percent of online shoppers in the United States stated that getting a discount when making online purchases was now even more important… The coronavirus pandemic… led to significant job losses, [and] heightening the need for shoppers to find the best deals,” wrote Statista. As a collective, gauging 2021’s global expenditures differs from any year prior. Notwithstanding, year-end sales are more likely to be met with supply chain or stock issues. Earlier celebratory dates like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, or Easter experience less interference.
Monetary concerns are not limited to today’s holiday. Financial periodicals are evolving to print in a hyper-specific manner. For instance, Money published a month-by-month breakdown of what markdowns to shop for including but not limited to Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and New Year’s Eve. Additionally, websites such as NerdWallet have categorized where to locate items and detailed, “… how to save money and plan your shopping… January – Just before the Super Bowl, retailers normally discount TVs… April – Tax-themed items… [merchants] and restaurants try to lighten the burden of Tax Day with discounts… June – Consider buying a gym membership during the summer…” The present-day circumstances are straightforward. COVID-19 has compromised many people’s quality of life. Every sale counts.
Some hand-holding is necessary in difficult times, but beyond citizens’ wants are their general needs. Compounding our daily health concerns are preexisting conditions such as those of the gender wage gap, racial discrimination, housing segregation, and educational equity voids within Black and Brown communities. Briefly, more than any in-store steal, proper upward mobility requires accessible resources. Information is a reliable weapon against bigoted “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” philosophies facing minoritized populations. In short, no human being can healthily exist in a constant state of survival.
Presently, the most urgent deal may not be from your city’s latest sample sale. Coronavirus has increased global food scarcity. A United Nations annual recap substantiated, “It is estimated that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger…” In contrast to these figures, last year, “10.5 percent (13.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time…” registered the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chart data. Every American district is home to families who face hunger. It is probable that someone you know has experienced or would benefit from a discount against pandemic-related undernourishment year-round.
The prioritization of what neighborhoods require regularly shifts with each variant’s deterrents. ROI Revolution approximated, “The pandemic brought a surge in online grocery for major retailers like Walmart, which saw grocery e-commerce surge 84% to $27 billion last year. This year, Walmart’s grocery e-commerce is expected to grow 14% to $31 billion” in their recapping the biggest COVID-19 + e-commerce news of 2021 examination. Perhaps separate societies can better dissect how classism affects our view of the best deal for collective residents during a pandemic moving forward.