A Brief History Of Black Friday

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Thanksgiving, in an ideal world, is a time to enjoy your loved ones, relax, and reflect on everything good you have going on in your life. A feel-good time for all. This, of course, is immediately followed by the stressful, bitter shopping event that is Black Friday, which, if you choose to participate, will undo all that goodwill and positivity the rest of the holiday season, all for the sake of one-day-only discounts.

This year, Wal-Mart employees — who have already been pushed to the brink by the store’s recent policy of starting Black Friday on fucking Thanksgiving Thursday — are taking the day to protest a whole host of other unfair labor practices (retaliation against employees who complain, virtually no available full-time jobs, lack of access to health insurance), leaving people with sort of an awkward dilemma: respect the picket line, or stock up on deals, deals, deals?!

How did we get to this place, on a holiday that is (very hypothetically) supposed to be about breaking bread with your loved ones? Why, again, do you need to spend Friday hiding inside for fear of a public trampling? Let’s take a look back at the evolution of a questionable, deeply American tradition.