While I was standing in line at Target at 5am, I started to wonder who started all this madness and why. Here's what Wikipedia could tell me:
Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1970s. "Black Friday" was originally so named because of the heavy traffic on that day, although most contemporary uses of the term refer instead to it as the beginning of the period in which retailers are in the black (i.e., turning a profit).
I looked around the web this morning and that's the most complete explanation I could get. Not good enough for me.
Then I started thinking about other cultures. How in the world do you explain this tradition to people in other countries?! I'm sure the BBC and other overseas networks will show little blurbs of Americans beating each other up in Best Buy over a TV.
Then I thought about my own attitude about the whole thing. I love it and I don't think it's necessarily because of the great deals. I spent 45 minutes this morning chatting with a very nice woman who was in line behind me. I think I like that it's something we as a country can bond over. We can catch a spirit of community and camraderie while standing in these long lines and talking about the "good deals". So, yes, it is a time of rampant consumerism, but it can be encouraging as well.
BTW, I got a coffee maker for $5! That was my big purchase this morning. I didn't go overboard because I had a couple days to think rationally about my spending.
Any thoughts? Oh yeah, do Canadians have a Black Friday?