Chaos, crowds, excitement and billions of dollars are all words that could be used to describe quite possibly the largest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. Black Friday, now being referred to as “Green Friday,” occurs every year on the day after Thanksgiving, and marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. In many families it is a Thanksgiving tradition to eat as much as possible at dinner, relax as much as possible afterward and wake up as early as possible the next morning to beat the crowds of people who, are following the same tradition.

Green Friday draws thousands of people to various stores to get the best deals on the best gifts of the holiday season. Though probably most noticeable in shopping malls, many major retail stores open their doors far earlier than usual (5 a.m. is typical, but some stores even open at midnight) to allow customers to get a jump start on their day and to increase the store’s chances of making the most money. In addition, they offer incredible deals.

This year, stores like Gap offered 30 percent off of purchases $50 or more before noon; American Eagle offered 15 percent off of any purchases before noon; Limited Too offered buy-one-get-one-half-off sales. Believe it or not, people waited in lines that nearly strung outside of shopping mall doors to get into stores precisely when they opened early in the morning.

As I walked into work for the 5 a.m. shift, there were literally tons of people waiting in line to get into KB Toys. I couldn’t believe it. I had never gotten up that early to take part in anything like it before.

Green Friday does not only cater to customers and consumers. Stores definitely get benefits from being accommodating by opening their doors six or more hours earlier, offering great deals and bargains and staffing extra employees to ease shopping. The biggest benefit they get is their profit! Many stores have incredible target goals to reach during Green Friday. As stated by an American Eagle manager, “Our goal today is to bring in $100,000 to top our $58,000 from last year. If we do that, we would be one of only five stores in the company to ever do so!”

Though high-target goals like this one are created to serve more as motivation than expectations, they are quite possible and realistic to attain with the way consumers shop on this special day.

In 2004, a total of $8 billion was estimated to have been spent across the country on that single day. Today that number has grown and we can only imagine what record-breaking achievements were reached by Green Friday shoppers this year. Imagine how big of a shopping spree you could go on with eight billion dollars. The term “Black Friday” was coined in 1975 when the New York Times first referenced the day in an article. The term was spun off from the use of the name “Black Tuesday,” referring to the 1929 stock market crash. Because the shopping day can be so stressful and chaotic, the term seemed appropriate. However, it is now being realized that maybe the term is not so appropriate after all, and the name “Green Friday” more accurately represents the idea of the day with its reference to money. The phrase also takes on its meaning because of how businesses keep track of their accounting. The terms “going into the red” and “going into the black” are commonly used in the corporate world.

Many people look forward to Green Friday because it gives them an excuse to empty their pocketbooks and indulge in their shopoholic tendencies. Yes, those may be good reasons for taking part, but if you’re smart like most of the college kids I know, next year you’ll sleep in instead.

Archie is a member of the class of 2008.

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