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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Black Friday

I am pretty much sure that this year is the first year I heard this term “Black Friday”. (“Hellooo ... where have I been before?”  ) I instantly got attracted by this ‘occasion’ because it was very much connected to the Thanksgiving Day!

When I was pursuing my study in American Studies Graduate Program in Gadjah Mada University (2002-2005), I ‘(un)luckily’ attended the ‘commemoration’ of Thanksgiving Day at least twice, if I am not mistaken. In the first commemoration, the students of my batch (2002) made a small drama illustrating the coming of the ‘Pilgrims’ – the first settlers migrating to American land – by Mayflower ship. The Pilgrims then were helped by the Native American tribe to survive by planting corns, potatoes, etc as well as fishing. (poor those migrating British people didn’t know how to cultivate lands because they did not have lands in their home country). No Pocahontas was narrated in the story though.  (Too bad, I do not have the pictures of our performance. I got only a little role, but in fact what Ibu Tati said was correct, I will always remember the commemoration.)

Black Friday 2011
The problem was as far as I remember, during my study, my classmates and I never talked about ‘Black Friday’. What the heck is this? Why ‘suddenly’ appeared this year in my life? I was thinking that perhaps this capitalist day started booming in America after I finished studying in American Studies Program.

Thank to the huge library in the internet. It is very easy for me to find the little history of Black Friday.

Wiki said that Black Friday is one day after Thanksgiving Day in every year when most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 a.m. or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season. Although it is not a holiday, some non-retail employers give their employees the day off, to increase the number of potential shoppers. “It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005,” Wiki claimed. Nevertheless, the use of the term in fact started before 1966 in Philadelphia and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975.

Belanja Lebaran 2009
Well, many people say that Thanksgiving Day can be compared to Lebaran holiday in Indonesia in the case of ‘mudik’ (it is said that on Thanksgiving Day many family members hold special dinner so that they will go home from wherever they live in order to gather with the parents and siblings), Black Friday is also similar to some days before Lebaran holiday where many retailers offer special promotional sales so that many people will buy a lot of things to welcome Lebaran. Even the government also obliges all companies to give annual bonus to the employees so that they can become more consumptive in this special holiday. The difference between shopping before Lebaran holiday and Black Friday is that for Lebaran holiday, people buy mostly clothes, shoes, or maybe bags (I cited my own habit LOL), maybe then people also buy some other stuff, such as electronic things or furniture, while on Black Friday, American people willingly wait for hours before some retailers open to get best buy for electronic things as the main target.

Well, if in the beginning Thanksgiving Day was not necessarily related to consumptive things, but the capitalism wants to make use of the occasion to get as much as profit, Lebaran holiday that I know has been always related to being consumptive since I was a kid. But I understand if my parents always wanted to buy new clothes for their kids since their financial condition enabled to do it only on Lebaran with the annual bonus my late dad got from his job.

just a piece of thought
#menulis agar tetap bisa eksis dan narsis :-p
GL7 11.05 071211

The two pics were taken from here and here


johnorford said...

Nice summary, it matches what lil I know of black Friday. Nowadays u also have cyber Monday which is when online shops have sales

Nana Podungge said...

dear John,

cyber Monday? wahhh ... I believe I will not be interested in it, I just don't wanna buy things I don't really need :)