Shopping

BrandoI was supposed to send this out yesterday, but I was technologically challenged!

They finally figured a way to stretch time; to add hours to the day; to make the impossible finally possible. According to several sources, today, Friday, started sometime on Thursday afternoon. Of course, it’s called “Black Friday”, and the day starts earlier and earlier each year, and thus stretches time out longer and longer. Now, if they could only figure a way to make every day 30+ hours long.

Black Friday is the day that retailers can expect a lot of “black ink” – dramatic sales, frenzied, cash- and credit card-waving throngs, and profits galore. George Macy had the brilliant idea of having a Thanksgiving Day Parade that would generate so much excitement that people would swarm the store “after Thanksgiving” – thus the origin of that day as the start of the holiday shopping period became part of our culture 90 years ago as the first parade marchers headed down 34th Street. President Roosevelt helped the retail world during the Great Depression by moving Thanksgiving a week earlier, thus allowing retailers to gain more selling days during the after-Thanksgiving shopping season. The Term “Black Friday” wasn’t coined until the ‘60s, but there is no doubt what the term signifies.

There are other notorious “Black” days in our history; some of the most famous are:

Black Sunday – in April of 1935, following years of dust and sand storms, an estimated 300,000 ton cloud of dust and dirt swept from the Great Plains, down through Texas, and east – all the way to Washington, D.C. The term “Dust Bowl” was coined forever, as well as bringing about major changes in soil conservation techniques.

Black Monday – October of 1987, when the DJIA dropped over 20% in one day. A global stock market decline ensued and the day became a notorious reminder of what mass selling could bring.

Black Tuesday – October of 1929, when the DJIA dropped 12% in a single day. This is most notably recognized as the origin of the Great Depression and sadly, the end of the Roaring ‘20s.

Black Wednesday – September of 1992, was the day that George Soros broke the Bank of England with his sly forex trading that is reputed to have made him over a billion dollars of profit in one single day’s trading.

Black Thursday – September of 2010, the day that the Irish government revealed that the cost of bailing out its bank would cause the country’s deficit to rise to over 1/3 of its GDP.

As we look back on history, we see that the dramatic “sales” on financial instruments have usually meant that we should have gone out and bought big. Reviewing history in long sweeps of time shows that to be very true. But most often, “sales” are not marked in time as dramatically as the sales on this longer than normal Friday.

Whether you are shopping for stocks, personal electronics or fancy purses, you may think things are cheap, you may think things are expensive. Either way, being diligent shoppers means that we can find bargains no matter the fanfare surrounding the sales.

Happy shopping and here are few movie quotes on the topic:

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”–Marlon Brando in The Godfather

“In a good shoe, I wear a six, but a seven feels so good, I buy a size eight.”–Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias

“I shop, therefore I am.”–Kim Walker in Heathers

“Sorry Vern. I guess a more experienced shopper could have gotten more for your seven cents.”–Wil Wheaton in Stand By Me