Media outlets of every stripe have already been buzzing about Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving and, anecdotally at least, the busiest shopping day of the year. For as long as anyone can remember, the day has been a marker for judging how retailers will fare for the fiscal year and a temperature reading for the economy as a whole.
For the record, not only is Black Friday not the busiest shopping day of the year (that would be Dec. 24), but its value is also largely symbolic.
“In general, Black Friday is overrated,” says Robert Spector, a retail historian and the author of Category Killers: The Retail Revolution and Its Impact on Consumer Culture. “Retailers use it to create a sense of excitement to get you to come in. But does it signal whether business is really up or down? I don’t think so.”
How’d we get all whipped up about this day anyway?
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