It is a uniquely American event as no other country sets aside the final Thursday of November as a national holiday that neatly coincides with the start of the Christmas season, but it’s unlikely that Abraham Lincoln, who transformed it into an annual observance, could ever imagined what his ‘day of thanks giving’ would become.

It may, in fact, have been President Franklin Roosevelt who first recognized the impact a ‘day after Thanksgiving’ shopping holiday would have on the struggling U.S. economy during the Depression, when he tried to move the observance a week earlier in November to create a longer shopping season. It may have been a sound fiscal policy, but it wasn’t well-received by the public – or even by retailers.

With many employees and all students having the day after Thanksgiving off, malls and ‘Big Box’ stores are scenes of long lines as customers queue up the night before to be first in line to take advantage of specials – usually contrived to bring in shoppers who will spend much more than they save.

Since 2005, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year and although online spending has cut into it sharply, especially on so-called ‘Cyber Monday,’ estimates are that American consumers will spend $3 billion saving money on a single day this year.

But along with the bargains has come an epidemic of ugly scenes in the stores as shoppers jockey for position, vie for a place in line, push and shove to be first in when the doors are opened and physically fight other shoppers to land the item of their choice.

Sadly, Black Friday 2016 was no different with at least two fatalities occurring nationally – one at an Atlantic City, New Jersey mall where one man was shot and his brother wounded outside the Macy’s, and the other at a Reno, Nevada Walmart. The Walmart shooting followed a dispute over… a parking space.

A third Black Friday-related shooting took place at a Memphis mall; the victim is expected to survive.

“It’s sad,” said one shopper who told reporters she had been taking her daughters on Black Friday shopping trips for ten years. “We’ve been doing this just for the fun of going out — a girls’ night and trying to get some special sales and it’s getting scary now.”

But at least one other shopper saw the bigger picture.

“It’s very scary, you know, you’re starting off the holiday season and you’re excited about the upcoming times with family and now there’s going to be family who are missing people and their holidays will never be the same.”

And all to get score a bargain on a set of headphones or a new Xbox.

Read more at: NYPost.com

 

 

 

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