Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Thursday: The New Thanksgiving?

As Black Thursday joins the ranks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, Thanksgiving Day more than ever seems like the mere onset of the largest shopping extravaganza of the year. Since early last week, TV stations, websites, magazines, and newspapers have headlined where to go and what to buy in search of the best deals on flatscreen TVs, iPads, refrigerators, boots, Hot Wheels, and Justin Bieber limited-edition holiday fragrance sets, to name a few (e.g. #BlackFriday,

The traditional day after Thanksgiving shopping bonanza has its roots in the 1924 NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; department stores in particular hosted parades to launch the start of the Christmas Shopping season. Then, in 1966, police in Philadelphia coined the term “Black Friday” to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic as crazed shoppers rushed to malls and shopping centers (a literal shop till you drop). An alternative explanation was later offered: “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit as they go from “in the red” to "in the black". For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s, many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00 to offer door buster deals. In 2011, this full-contact sport, a cross between bullfighting and football (see video below), has been taken to a new extreme. Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, and Macy’s, among other retail giants have decided to start their holiday sales as early as 9 p.m. tonight. This weekend alone is excepted to bring in 
an estimated 134 million shoppers and $40 billion in sales.

According to,
 starting last night, people have already pitched tents to wait for the hyper-consumerism to start. Call me crazy, but I much prefer to spend today being thankful and celebrating with my friends and family. Today and for the rest of the weekend, I am plan to #partylikethepilgrims, go into a #foodcoma, watch lots of football, and gorge on turkey and pumpkin pie. However you plan on celebrating today--whether shopping, pitching a tent, cooking, or eating to your heart's content--Happy Thanksgiving!

-Catherine Hsieh

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