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Why Do We Have Black Friday? – Elaha Moosa, Gumley House School FCJ

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Why do we have Black Friday? Something I doubt many of us ask ourselves every time this time of year comes around. For many of us in the UK, it’s an opportunity to get clothes at outstanding prices or a new oven for half off the retail price. However, Black Friday is much more than that! Therefore, we should take the time to dive into its origins and understand why this shopping holiday has truly come about.  

Contrastingly, in the United States, Black Friday traditionally marks the Friday after Thanksgiving (a national holiday). Whereas, in the UK, Black Friday is start of the Christmas shopping season; giving people the chance to get fantastic gifts at low prices. Recently, people all over the world have gone crazy for the cheap prices – leading to impulsive buys and new clothes ready to be tossed away after the first wear. 

Over the years, people have gathered that the earliest use of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ can date back to around 1869 in which the price of gold plummeted – resulting in a crash in the market, leaving behind lasting effects on the US economy. But, the first use of the phrase as we recognise it, can be said to be around the 1950’s by traffic police in Philadelphia, when describing the traffic jams in retail stores. Currently, we continue to use ‘Black Friday’ to describe the frantic shopping holiday, that people prepare for up to numerous days beforehand! 

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While on the surface Black Friday may seem like an enjoyable experience, it also has its downsides. It is an excellent opportunity to not only help stimulate the economy moreover, it allows shops to sell excess stock. Furthermore, due to Black Friday being a suitable time for people to buy Christmas gifts for each other, it has become a family tradition and the perfect way to spend time with loved ones, all while venturing out for great deals. Nonetheless, it is also the perfect time for people to make impulse decisions such as buying items they wouldn’t have otherwise or accidents, injuries and fights to occur in shops, over attractive deals.  

A 2019 report from the Green Alliance charity found that 80 per cent of everything bought during the Black Friday bonanza ends up getting thrown away shortly after purchase. Both positive and negative effects of Black Friday are evident. We should be mindful of them every time this time of year comes around and not be influenced to make impulse purchases, on the basis of a great deal. Would you say Black Friday sales are worth it? 

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