Black Friday madness — and my return to retail

It’s Thanksgiving Eve! A glorious day I sit in anticipation of a four-day weekend, lots of delicious food, time with my friends, family and boyfriend and the opportunity to… shop. This Friday is Black Friday!

Working around Black Friday at the bookstore, 2006!

Working around Black Friday at the bookstore, 2006!

After slaving away in crowded, congested stores since I was a freshman in college, Black Friday is typically a day I look forward to with a mixture of anticipation and fear. It’s a little fun, yes — being insanely busy with bustling people everywhere, the time filling itself without much help from you, selling tons of stuff and hopefully keeping your chain store afloat a little longer. I usually wear red and green, throw on a pretty bell necklace and maybe don a Santa hat (emblazoned with my name in glitter, of course).

Black Friday — so called because it’s the day merchants find themselves “back in the black,” i.e. out of the “red” or debt — has its origins, it seems, in Philadelphia in 1966: the day after Thanksgiving brought so many shoppers to the city and congested traffic so badly, police and locals likened it to the chaos of Black Tuesday, the day the stock market crashed in 1929. Retailers, cab drivers and others in the service industry thought only of the “headaches” Black Friday brought with it, not the potential sales and money-making opportunities.

According to trust Wikipedia, Black Friday is typically not the busiest shopping day of the year — that honor is typically bestowed upon the Saturday before Christmas. Makes sense. Lots of last-minute shoppers out there! Black Friday was the busiest shopping day of the year last holiday, though.

With the economy being what it is, I’m sure this year will be even crazier than usual. And though I left my part-time job at the bookstore in October, I did agree to come pitch in on Friday — I’m working 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the entire shank of the day. My dad, sister and I are planning on hitting Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy early before I have to meander over to grab a paycheck myself. I haven’t worked at the store in nearly a month, and I’m pretty nervous! It’s one thing to make your triumphant return, and it’s another entirely to make that return on Black Friday. We shall see.

But before I have to worry about working, I’ll be shopping!

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