Black Friday: A Consumer Holiday


Luke Steiner

A local business and Westside students share their thoughts on Black Friday.

The term “Black Friday” was first used to describe the crash of the U.S. stock market in 1869. Two financers named Jay Gould and Jim Fisk worked to buy all of America’s gold in hopes of selling it for an enormous profit, but their plan was foiled and many went bankrupt. Later, police in Philadelphia used the term in the 1950s to describe the disorder in the city the day after Thanksgiving, before an annual football game on Saturday. Police had to work long shifts because of the increase in traffic, crowds and shoplifters. 

Infographic by Luke Steiner. These statistics are based on a nonscientific survey conducted by The Lance with 294 responses.

Today, most people affiliate the Black Friday tradition with retailers. According to the History Channel, retailers reinvented Black Friday in the late 1980s so that they would have a way to profit from it. A common myth is that after being in the red, or losing profits, stores would earn a profit, or go into the black, the day after Thanksgiving. This is due to customers spending money on reduced prices of items. The negativity of Black Friday was quickly forgotten, and it’s turned into the day it is now. 

Currently, Black Friday is known as the day after Thanksgiving during which businesses and retailers offer reduced prices and special sales. This year, Nov. 29 is Black Friday and Dec. 2 is Cyber Monday. Black Friday has become a part of many Thanksgiving traditions and informally marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season for many people. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, which retailers promote as a day for sales and bargains for online shoppers.This combination of days allows for lots of sales, savings and chaos. 

Local store, Nebraska Furniture Mart, spends a lot of time preparing for Black Friday.

“We have strategic meetings throughout the year, start where we discuss things that went well and anything that didn’t go well,” Andy Shefsky, a manager at Nebraska Furniture Mart, said. “Almost everyone in the company is involved in Black Friday.”

According to Shefsky, the Black Friday experience is enjoyable for staff and consumers. 

Infographic by Luke Steiner. These statistics are based on a nonscientific survey conducted by The Lance with 294 responses.

“Black Friday is exciting at Nebraska Furniture Mart,” Shefsky said. “For employees, lots of people that work at Nebraska Furniture Mart don’t usually get to help customers, but on Black Friday they do. Black Friday requires a great deal of teamwork and is fun for the employees.”

Shefsky believes that customers also share similar experiences during Black Friday.  

“For some shoppers, Black Friday is an annual tradition, some even sleep outside the door the night before,” Shefsky said. “The Black Friday experience can be unique for each person, but we want it to be a fun experience for everyone.”

Shefsky has a few tips and tricks for shoppers participating in Black Friday.

“Make sure you go to the correct entrance that the certain item you’re looking for is at, since we have multiple buildings you don’t want to come into the furniture section looking for a TV,” Shefsky said. “We’re starting a new messaging system, you can sign up for, it allows people to view a map of the store before it opens. If people are shopping as a team, have one person grab a shopping cart right away, those are the first to go. You can also look for people leaving to snag cart.”

Westside students have different opinions about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“Everything’s on sale,” Sebastian Goermar, junior, said. “So I guess it’s good if you want to get something you’ve been wanting for awhile.”

Others think Black Friday is pointless. 

“Black Friday is a bit unnecessary,” Ryann Taylor, freshman, said. “It’s too crazy, but it really shouldn’t be, like people are wack during Black Friday.”

Infographic by Luke Steiner. These statistics are based on a nonscientific survey conducted by The Lance with 294 responses.

Some enjoy the idea of Black Friday, but not the actual shopping. 


“I don’t like to shop that early,” Gina Dukes, staff member, said. “I love the sales, but I’m just not willing to go and fight the crowds.” 

Participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become a tradition for many consumers and many retailers, but make sure to strategize your purchases beforehand, so on Black Friday, you can focus on shopping and battling other shoppers for the best discounted goods.

However, the most important thing about Black Friday isn’t the deals.

“The most important thing is everyone’s safety, Shefsky said. “People should remember that not everyone is going to get the item that they want.”