Featured, Society & People

Black Friday: Finding the Best Bargains

This year, The Rock at Boston College is doing the season of joy in a big way by generating new content every day in our first ever “25 Days of Christmas”. The Rock is proud to present this installment in our holiday special.

Four years ago, I was collapsed on the couch with my older sister after Thanksgiving dinner after a full meal of turkey, all the fixings, and multiple slices of pie. We watched the 10:00 news as we were coming out of our food comas and the news anchors were showing footage of people lining up for Black Friday deals. On a whim, we decided to give midnight shopping a shot. We bundled up, jumped in the car, and drove to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, singing along to the radio the whole way. After sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for over an hour and waiting to find a parking spot, we finally made it in just after midnight. Some stores, such as Coach, Ugg, Juicy Couture, had lines out the door with a hundred people waiting to be let in.  After shopping for a few hours, we finally left the outlets around 4am.

black friday

Going to the outlets on Black Friday has become a tradition for my family.  With the exception of last year when I was in France, we’ve gone every year to find the best deals and get some Christmas shopping done. Of course, we aren’t the only ones who have made this part of our Thanksgiving tradition. Since the 19th century, department stores have used the Macy’s Day Parade – and the enormous Santa Claus floating through the air – as a reminder that the Christmas season is quickly approaching and it’s time to shop.  Over time, this became the day when the biggest sales would hit the shelves and people would line up to get them.

So where did the name come from? As an article in The Week says, “In the ’50s, people running factories started referring to the day after Thanksgiving as ‘Black Friday’ because so many employees failed to show up to work. In the early ’60s, Philadelphia police started using the term to refer to the onslaught of jaywalking shoppers who converged on the city’s downtown. By the ’70s, the name was more widely used to connote the kick-off of holiday shopping, but still bore negative connotations. It only took on a positive ring in the ’80s, when some shop owners pointed out that the profitable post-Thanksgiving rush put ‘black ink’ on their balance sheets for the first time all year.”  Today, I feel that Black Friday means great deals and rowdy shoppers.

Although there have been injuries and even some deaths as a result of aggressive crowds, mostly at big-box stores such as Walmart and Best Buy, stores are becoming more cautious to ensure that everyone stays safe.  Between the traffic, long lines, rude shoppers, and ungodly hours of the morning, is it really worth it to battle Black Friday?

I may be biased – I’m a self-proclaimed shopaholic – but I have always had great experiences with Black Friday. It’s exhausting, of course, but nearly every store at the already-reduced outlets boasts 50% off everything and similar deals.  (This year, my best deal was a $32 cashmere sweater…doesn’t get much better than that.) When you have the right attitude going into the night, it can actually be fun and exciting.  In addition, you don’t need to shop at midnight to get the best deals. While you’ll have the best selection if you go sooner, most stores are open all day on Friday.

Black Friday is still in full swing for the rest of the day and if you miss out, you can take to the internet for Cyber Monday. In addition, this year marks the second year of Giving Tuesday, a national movement devoted to donating to charities across the country.


  1. Like Claude Rains in “Casablanca,” I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that people of the cerebral horsepower of BC students and alunmi/ae would fall for the silly hype of Black Friday and the odious concept of ‘Doorbusters” – – remember that poor emplyee at a WalMart (where else?) on Long Island not so long ago who was actually trampled to death by “doorbuster’ devotees. And speaking of the ever-odious WalMart, do you think those minimum-wage wretches forced to work on Thaksgiving get overtime? Not on you Nellie. They get a 25% discount on their own ‘doorbuster’ purchases. One should be ashamed of shopping at WalMart at all, much less on Thanksgiving and encouraging this dreadful hype and nonsense.

    • Meagan McCarthy

      As I mentioned, there are many cases in which shoppers have gotten out of control. It is inexcusable that people have gotten hurt or been trampled to death and the topic of wages is another matter altogether. There are many articles and news reports discussing all of the negative aspects of Black Friday. However, for the purpose of this article, I chose to focus on the positive experiences that I’ve had – at the outlets, not at Walmart. I do not believe that the enjoyment I get from shopping with my family at midnight is a reflection of my “cerebral horsepower” and I think it is entirely possible to be both an intelligent, thoughtful BC student and a Black Friday shopper.

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