Holiday Shopping

Shoppers wait in queue outside for Black Friday sales at a Target store on Friday in Newport, Ky. — AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Thanksgiving turkey barely had a chance to digest before the “opportunity” to find those doorbuster sales had begun.

With the Black Friday sales beginning on Thanksgiving, it’s become more of a marathon than a sprint for those seeking bargains in brick and mortar stores.

Even though for the most part the bargains can be found online, Amanda Massing came to the Deptford Mall in the pre-dawn hours to shop.

“Oh, it’s just a tradition we do every year,” Massing said.

Howard Veit was a man on a mission, stopping at only one store and in and out in minutes.

“I had to get something from Pandora and I’m done for the day,” Veit said. “I wanted to get it over early.”

At the other extreme was one person with an ironic name, Kylee Cyber. She could have shopped online, but decided it was better to spend all night shopping.

“JC Penney’s, Walmart, Target, Dicks, everywhere,” Cyber said. She estimates she saved $200 at one store alone.

Despite temperatures in the teens, shoppers like Sheila Brantley took to the stores to find those great deals.

“You go online [and] it takes the fun out of coming out watching everyone trying to rush and get their sizes,” Brantley said.

“You want to come out here, you want to see people and everything like that.”

Some stores opened for a few hours Thursday evening and reopened this morning with plenty of people lined out the door.

Black Friday history rooted in Philadelphia

Before Black Friday became synonymous with one of the most successful days for businesses every year, it had a negative connotation.

According to History.com, Philadelphia Police used the term in the 1960s to describe the car and foot traffic caused by post-Thanksgiving Day shoppers — and as a way to make shoppers in the city view the shopping frenzy as a problem. Adding to the traffic gridlock of that time was the Army-Navy game. Traditionally, it would take place the weekend after Thanksgiving. Crowds would arrive on Friday.

Bonnie Taylor Blake, a research analyst from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discovered a press release from 1961 that details how the City of Philadelphia then attempted to spin Black Friday with a positive approach, decidedly rebranding the shopping weekend after Thanksgiving as “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday.”

We can see that didn’t stick.

In an Associated Press article from 1975, a Gimbels sales manager discussed seeing police officers attempting to direct and control a crowd of jaywalkers in Center City.

“That’s why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today Black Friday,” she said. “They think in terms of the headaches it gives them.”

By the 1980s, retail businesses had come to accept the insanity of Black Friday and took on a different positive outlook for the shopping day — this time referring to businesses being “in the black,” or turning a profit as the holiday shopping season “officially” begins. — (WHYY)

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