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Black Friday

Posted November. 28, 2011 01:55,   


Similar to Korea`s Chuseok (Full Moon Harvest) holiday, Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays in the U.S., falling on the last Thursday of November. Families gather together to eat turkey and give thanks. "Black Friday" is the day following Thanksgiving Day, traditionally starting the Christmas shopping season. The day`s name was coined in the 1960s to describe the heavy traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday now indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black.”

The shopping frenzy on Black Friday is similar to Korea`s exodus toward hometowns for family reunions during Chuseok. Shoppers in the U.S. camp outside stores all night, awaiting Black Friday bargains. Major retailers including Target and Bestbuy open doors at midnight Thanksgiving. Most stores give out sale fliers before their sales start, but others promote flash sales. Due to the limited amount of goods, shoppers have to grab them before others take it. Companies forecast the following year`s economic conditions based on sales made this day. Sales rose an estimated 6.6 percent in the U.S. Friday, according to retail traffic monitor Shoppertrack.

Reflecting hard-hearted sentiment due to the uncertain U.S. economy, violence marred this year`s Black Friday. At a Wal-mart in Los Angeles, a woman trying to get the upper hand to buy an Xbox video game unleashed pepper spray on a crowd of shoppers, causing injuries to 20 people. A 60-year-old man collapsed of cardiac arrest at a Target store in South Charleston, West Virginia, and died shortly afterwards due to shopper indifference. Violence with no sense of shame and morals marred Black Friday this year.

Shopping is a national pastime in the U.S., which lacks traditional culture. While Koreans spend in proportion to their income, Americans tend to spend in the anticipation of making money. Black Friday is a time of big temptation for them. Professor Daniel Altman at New York University Stern School of Business put the revival of the U.S. as the first of 12 trends that will reshape the global economy, based on the American people’s consumption power. He meant conspicuous consumption and the shopping frenzy in the U.S. fuel the global economy.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)