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Nov 27, 2009


Black Friday is the name of the day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of the month of November, and Black Friday is the following day. It is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Stores open at 5am, and some even open at midnight. Typically, the shops are packed with people. It is a stressful event, and often, in the newspaper the next day there are stories of conflicts and fights. Too many people in a limited space, all trying to get the same cheap products, is a recipe for disaster. But, for a lot of people, it is worth it. They get all of their Christmas shopping done in one day, and, they believe, they save a lot of money. What a good deal! Presents, Christmas cards, wrapping paper, stocking stuffers, and decorations, can all be found and purchased. You have to be a committed shopper to get up early and squeeze through all of the crowded shops, especially after Thanksgiving. After celebrating the night before with friends and family, all the food, and all the clean-up, it is quite exhausting to get up at four thirty in the morning, throw on some jeans, and head out into the frosty darkness. But, every year more and more people do it. You suffer for a day, and then it is over, mission accomplished.

Grammar notes.

Vocabulary: stocking stuffers, a good deal, crowded, conflict.


Stocking stuffers are the little presents that go in the Christmas stockings.

I bought those jeans at half price. What a good deal!

The shop was so crowded that I could hardly breathe.

I don't like conflict. I avoid it at all costs.


The first time I heard the name 'Black Friday' was a few days ago. I had never heard it before. A friend of mine explained to me that it is the official name for the shopping day after Thanksgiving. When I heard it, I was immediately reminded of 'The Black Death', when Europe suffered the effects of the Black Plague. Well, this is slightly different; okay, it's very different. It is a huge shopping day that designed to move shops financially from being in the red, to being in the black. That means that they will finish the year with a profit, and not a loss. Hence the word 'black'. The name started on the East Coast back in the 1960's in Philadelphia. There would be so much traffic on the streets that the name developed. There are well advertised incentives to bring shoppers in. Two of these are 'doorbuster' deals and 'loss leaders'. A doorbuster deal is a limited amount of very discounted items. After a certain time, the items will return to a regular price. Also a loss leader is a product that the shop sells at a loss in order to encourage shoppers. It could be something like ketchup, mayonnaise, light bulbs, or actually anything. Once the people are inside, they end up buying something else, and that way, the shop makes a profit. These good deals have a negative side to them aswell, though. People can go a bit crazy and get aggressive, even violent. There are cases of fights and even shootings on Black Friday. It's amazing what shopping will do to some people.

Grammar notes.

Related vocabulary: official, to remind, to suffer the effects, to be in the red/ black.


It's official. The divorce papers were signed yesterday.

That young man reminds me of his grandfather in his looks and actions.

The workers suffered the effects of the polluted air in the factory.

Previously the store was in the black, but this year it is in the red. 

Practice of the ordinal adjectives:

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, nineth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth.