The day after Thanksgiving is now regarded as the official start of the holiday season — and holiday shopping.
Time magazine reported that the term “Black Friday” was first used in reference to Sept. 24, 1864, when a financial panic began due to the plunging price of gold.
Black Friday was redefined when Philadelphia newspapers copied the term to describe the intensity and large size of shopping crowds in the 1960s.
By the 1990s, Time reported, Black Friday was no longer a term but instead an unofficial holiday in the retail world.
By 2002, it became the holiday season’s biggest shopping day.
Black Friday continues to take the retail world by storm. Several shopping centers and department stores have joined forces with crowds to increase profits.
Retail establishments up store hours and offer one-day promotions and sales to keep the crowds coming back for more.
In certain instances, Black Friday can turn deadly. In 2008, holiday shopping resulted in a death by trampling in a New York Walmart and the shooting of two California Toys R Us shoppers over a toy dispute.
Ranker.com, a website that boasts “the best lists about everything,” counts these among the 13 most brutal Black Friday injuries, incidents and deaths. The list also includes a miscarried pregnancy and the paralysis of an older woman.
The Youngstown area has not yet made headlines for any instances of competitive shopping violence.
However, Black Friday still means the same to some Youngstown State University students as it does to the rest of the country.
Sophomore Courtney Hughes said she has been participating in the crazy shopping experience since she was 16 years old.
This year is no exception.
“I get all of my shopping done that night,” said Hughes, who is hoping to purchase a new iPod touch this year.
Hughes has been fortunate enough to never have any major horror stories.
“The only issue I’ve had is the item I’m shopping for not being in the right spot,” she said.
Junior Addonnus Harden has gone shopping on Black Friday for more than a dozen years. This year, she’ll be on the hunt for a boxing bag for her husband and two sons.
“I’ve never been looking for one specific thing, so I don’t have any crazy stories,” she said. “I just go shop and watch the other people and have fun. Parking is the worst thing about it. I can deal with the rest.”
Harden isn’t the only one who dislikes the traffic. Senior Ashley Zehentbauer said the only bad part is the crazy drivers.
“I have not gone really early before,” she said. “I’m trying to stay out of the madness until I have children.”
Senior Kyle Reinke went shopping last year on Black Friday for the sole reason of being entertained by the wild crowds.
“The way people act on Black Friday is ridiculous,” Reinke said.
Reinke accompanied his friend who was shopping for video games. When the two decided that the long lines were too much to bear, Reinke suggested hiding the games in the store and coming back for them the next day.
“Some old, overweight, grumpy woman said there was no way you can hide them and that people will find them, so I just wanted to prove her wrong,” he said.
Reinke and his friend returned the next day to find the games in the same spot.
“So I guess there is a way to beat the lines at Walmart,” Reinke said.
Stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart are among the most bombarded on Black Friday. These stores would not disclose any Black Friday information.