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A day is soon coming that some folks are looking at with dread, for others in eager anticipation, while the rest of us are scratching our heads not knowing what to make of it. So, what am I talking about? Why, Black Friday, the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day in the US.So, why so black and why on a Friday? Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving used to mean one thing for retailers: it was the first day in the lengthy retailing calendar where a store could make enough money [move merchandise] to see yearly losses [for bookkeeping purposes represented by the color red] turn into gains [represented by the color black]. Supposedly, all the sales completed throughout the year were done at a loss until that one big day, Black Friday, whereby enough merchandise is sold to reverse course and to begin to turn a profit for the year.
Today, retailers don’t rely on just one day, even though some news reports still seem to indicate that the day after Thanksgiving is so vital to them. In reality, retailers have long since spread their reliance on Black Friday further out; now it is an entire season, Christmas, that ultimately determines whether a merchant turns a profit for the year or not.
Of course, if you are part of that one small, but significant part of the population who must rouse themselves up at 5 a.m. one day after eating Thanksgiving dinner and schlep over to a local retailer to wait on customers for twelve straight hours then the day is, understandably, black to you. Happy Black Friday!