Be mindful of local businesses and gift giving, despite Black Friday
By Jim Schuh
Red ink and black ink.
Most of us have heard of those two varieties. Red ink signals bleeding – financial bleeding – losing money in business. In the days of pen and ink, accountants used red ink to show losses.
Black ink is just the opposite – it means making money or being profitable. It’s what businesses strive for.
In line with that, we now have “Black Friday,” the day when retailers supposedly begin to turn a profit for the year. But CNN says that’s a myth – “Black Friday” as we know it today started in Philadelphia in the 1950s when hordes of shoppers crowded sidewalks outside stores on the day following Thanksgiving. The police had to deal with the resulting mayhem and gave the day its name – “Black Friday.” Whatever its derivation, “Black Friday” has become a huge retail event, the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season.
Somewhere along the line, it expanded from one day to four days and now encompasses the month of November. I’ve gotten emails and surface mail promoting pre-Black Friday deals for three weeks. And you can bet “Black Friday” specials will continue for the rest of the month.
Online merchants especially have been touting “Black Friday” deals every day, and it’s hard to know when they’re offering their best prices. Was it before Thanksgiving? Will it be today – “Black Friday?” Or tomorrow? Or Monday? Or perhaps next Thursday, the last day of the month? Your guess is as good as mine.
Local merchants have been targeting us via regular mail as well as newspaper, television and radio ads. I got a phone call the other day from a furniture store where I’ve done business inviting me to a special “Black Friday” sale for “good customers.”
Some merchants were open on Thanksgiving, offering “early Black Friday” deals. I never liked the idea of opening on a holiday when it meant requiring store employees to disrupt their family holiday to report for work – be it during the day or in the evening.
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