Black Friday is the name popularly given to the day after Thanksgiving, which is always a Friday and is a holiday. The name "Black Friday" comes from the fact that historically it has been the day when stores break into profitability for the full year, so that they are "in the black" rather than "in the red." In recent years, the day has become the most popular day of the year to go shopping and retailers have reported record profits. Many people take advantage of this holiday as an opportunity to do all their Christmas shopping early. Black Friday is commonly criticized as being an inordinate display of consumerism, though it is often celebrated in the media with previews and discussions on upcoming sales.
Black Friday Incidents and Controversies
Due to the steep price cuts and limited supply of products offered by companies on Black Friday, there are many acts of violence and other incidents that have occurred.
In 2008, Black Friday reached a fever pitch when a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death and a pregnant woman was injured by a mob of shoppers breaking through the doors shortly before opening time. According to witnesses, the mob actually broke the doors off their hinges, and continued to trample in, even stepping on officers giving CPR to the trampled man. One witness said, "When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since Friday morning!'...They kept shopping." A Wal-Mart employee later said, "I look at these people's faces and I keep thinking one of them could have stepped on him. How could you take a man's life to save $20 on a TV?"
On the same day, two men at a Toys R Us were killed in a shooting. Though initial reports suggested the shooting erupted over a shopping altercation, this was apparently not the case. The exact cause of the shooting is not clearly known.
In 2012,a man left his girlfriend's two year old in his car so he could pick up a tv, and got a separate ride home; the boy was rescued when K-Mart employees broke into his car.
Following the outrage sparked over the Wal-Mart incident, Black Friday has slightly declined in popularity, and the term has even been disfavored over other terms that do not have any negative connotation. (Despite some decline in Black Friday shopping, some retailers such as Old Navy recently started offering Thanksgiving Day sales similar to Black Friday sales.)