Thursday, November 24, 2011

Buy Junk Or The Terrorists Win

5 Black Friday Myths The Media Wants You to Believe

#3. Black Friday Is the Day After Thanksgiving

"What You Think:

OK, this is clearly not a myth. Thanksgiving happens, and then Black Friday. But you probably think Black Friday is determined by the date that Thanksgiving falls on. All the cooking and eating is out of the way, and as an unintentional side effect of that, we get to start Christmas shopping.

The Reality:

Actually, the day we celebrate Thanksgiving is determined by the day the retailers decide will make a good Black Friday. The start of the holiday shopping season is both more official and harder to move than the holiday it follows. That means when ranking their order of importance to our country, a national day of shopping beats a national day of gratitude. Not quite as surprising when we put it like that, right?

"I can't wait until we ditch all this family togetherness bullshit for some new electronics."

Thanksgiving originally didn't have a set date. George Washington proclaimed the first one on November 26, 1789, but the dates and even months changed for almost a century. Abraham Lincoln gave it a regular berth in 1863 as the last Thursday of November. It never occurred to Honest Abe that November sometimes has five Thursdays, and that this would create a problem down the road.

One of those Novembers with five Thursdays happened in 1939, when the United States was recovering from the Great Depression. At that time, waiting until after Thanksgiving to start the holiday shopping season was seen as almost holy, but Thanksgiving fell on the very last day of the month. A short number of Christmas shopping days, starting on December 1, could hurt the recovering economy. That's why President Franklin Roosevelt had to put Turkey Day in its place.

A Presidential proclamation was issued moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. Thirty-two states went along with FDR and issued the same proclamation, while the other 16 states said "fuck that." For two years, a third of the U.S. celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, while the other two thirds of the country celebrated it on the second to last Thursday. For family members living in opposing states, this was a very short, lethargic version of the Civil War.

In 1941, Congress told FDR to knock that shit off and passed a resolution setting a fixed date for Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November. The Senate, reminding them that there was shopping at stake, amended it to declare Thanksgiving as being on the fourth Thursday to get rid of the occasional five Thursday problem.

Thus it was settled that the most important part of the holiday season is having a standard, sensible number of days in which to buy shit. Then we said "fuck it" and started the holiday shopping season in October."

The earliest I've ever seen a retail store try to pump holiday sales was September 24. It was a drug store in an Oregon town and they had set up an Xmas aisle with fake trees and wrappings. As I remember it was a swelteringly hot day. And I laughed in their faces.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.