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What is the history of Black Friday?


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Taken from the Black Friday site FAQ/History page:


The day after Thanksgiving is frequently referred to as "Black Friday". One of the major U.S. holiday shopping days, it is the day many U.S. consumers begin Christmas shopping. The day is heavily promoted by retailers. The origin of Black Friday comes from the shift to profitability during the holiday season. Black Friday was when retailers went from being unprofitable, or "in the red," to being profitable, or "in the black" - at a time when accounting records were kept by hand and red indicated loss and black profit. The day is not important just for traditional retailers. Black Friday is also a huge day for internet retailers. Last year online retailers saw a huge spike in sales as customers jumped online instead of into their cars. The numbers increased significantly in 2005 and this year figures to be just as lucrative.


To make the most of Black Friday, your best bet is to use this web site, Black Friday @ GottaDeal, which provides a complete Black Friday web site every year. We have complete lists of the items rumored to be available, links to those items that are available online, customized shopping lists, and a very active message board on our forum dedicated just to Black Friday shopping. We are without a doubt the #1 source for Black Friday information each year, and 2006 should be even better with the great new features added to the site. The types of deals found on Black Friday vary from year to year. The past few years have seen the biggest discounts on electronics and computer items. Deals such as DVD players for $20, home theater systems for $69 and laptop computers for under $400 are very common on Black Friday. Holiday-specific items, such as trees and decorations are also available with big discounts on Black Friday. The first rumors of Black Friday items typically appear in early to middle October, and continue to roll in throughout October and November.


During the weeks prior to Black Friday, a few web sites receive advance copies of the ads (usually from store employees, or their friends and relatives. In the past, retailers have attempted to prevent the ad information from being leaked, but the vast majority of retailers have no problem and appreciate the free advertising given to them by these sites. The official Black Friday sale ads typically appear in most newspapers on Thanksgiving Day. Some retailers choose to release their ads earlier, either through the newspaper, direct mail or in-store distribution. Although Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of customer traffic, it is not typically the day with the highest sales volume. That is usually either the last Saturday before Christmas or December 23. To some social activists, this day was deliberately chosen as Buy Nothing Day to protest the rampant consumerism that they say seems most prevalent on that day.


There are several tips for getting the best deals on Black Friday. First, the easiest strategy is to get to your desired stores early in the morning and take a list of what Black Friday items you are interested in. Second, if possible, use a buddy system with friends or relatives so that some people take certain stores and others take the rest. Plan out your items so that you can get in and out of the store quickly. The sooner you get to the register, the better. Especially if you go when the stores open. Make sure to keep track of the timing of promotions as many deals are so-called "early birds" that may only be available for a few hours. Another great tip is to use the store's pricematching policy to your advantage. Find a store that will match a competitor's price, and save a trip to another store. Finally, another possible option is to purchase the item before Black Friday and then go back to the store to attempt to get a refund. This is now discouraged at most stores, but you may find some stores that will allow it.

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