“We do our best to make Black Friday a fun, festive time for our customers, including hundreds of hours of training to get ready for the day."
--from news release issued by mega-retailer Best Buy, October 2008
A headline writer or talking head somewhere got all cutesy a few years back when times were seemingly so flush that he or she )and without consulting me!) went and thoughtlessly re-christened as "Black Friday" what was perfectly adequately known when I was growing up as the Day after Thanksgiving.
Writer that I may be, it took me awhile to grasp the positive significance of that title as all the "black days" that came before it in human history deployed that huer as an adjective because, hell, they were pretty awful days. In this context, and from not so long ago I might add, "Black Monday" leaps to mind-- October 19, 1987, the day when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a ton of value in a very short time.
While we're at it, let's not forget the biggest and baddest of them all: "Black Thursday," which denotes several awful events including the Wall Street crash of October 24, 1929 that precipitated the Great Depression and October 14, 1943, when the Allied Air Forces suffered large losses during the second massive bombing raid on Schweinfurt, Germany. Geez, maybe we should all just be glad it's November!
But, lucky me, I bet I won't have to roll my eyes at the absolute dopiness of calling a day "black" for black ink because it is a big day in retail--at least not this year!
Nope, I am fully prepared for it to be renamed Red Friday for the huge comparative sales declines retailers will report if Americans stay away from shopping in droves this holiday season.
To be sure, the experts are warning it will be a season for Scrooges. But perhaps we can take some small comfort in knowing it won't be so out of miserliness for too many millions of people, but out of necessity.
No time for Scrooge (Albert Finney in "Scrooge," 1970)
That being said, we'd all be enriched by trying to do whatever we individually can this holiday season for the less fortunate among us-- be it by donating to a church or favorite charity or more directly by dropping supplies off at a food bank or just plunking spare change or a few bills in one of those familiar red kettles manned by bell-ringers that should start popping up outside stores any day now...
For in life, if not in trucking, what goes around comes around.