You might already know that last week Marion and I were running our women’s retreat in Marrakesh, and the subject of shopping came up. I know – shocking! Women and shopping! Half the crew were planning to visit the Souk and snap up some bargains.
And the conversation about bargains led to a conversation about Black Friday (today), which led to the question “I wonder where Black Friday got it’s name”. “Oh, I know this one” I replied, “because it came up at this time last year and somebody told me it was the day all the slaves in America who were a bit old or surplus to requirements, were sold off cheaply”.
One of the group asked if I was sure about that, and thinking about it, the answer was – no. I had just assumed that the person who told me knew what they were talking about. And actually – that’s how a lot of stuff works isn’t it? But let me come back to that…
So, I set about finding out the true origin of Black Friday and it turns out….it’s nothing to do with slaves. The term is first documented as being used in 1961, a heck of a long time after the abolition of slavery! Having said that there are a lot of people protesting that people should boycott Black Friday because of the (false) association to the name.
Other ‘urban myths’ about Black Friday include it being the first day retailers go into profit (into the black) in the year. I seriously hope this one isn’t true for the poor retailers. Also circulating is that it is called Black Friday because it is the day most people call in sick – and being the first day after Thanksgiving there is perhaps some truth in that one.
But actually where the name started was in Philadelphia in 1961. It falls on the day after thanksgiving (4th Thursday of November) and prior to 1961 was already seen as the day that Christmas shopping really started. And it was in the early 60’s that the Philadelphia Police Department started calling the day ‘Black Friday’ – because it fell between Thanksgiving and the Army Navy Football Game that generally took place the following weekend. The streets and the shops were absolute chaos, and the police encouraged people to stay away on Black Friday.
Of course, the opposite happened and it took off! Well in America at least. It hasn’t really been ‘a thing’ in the UK until in 2013 Asda announced it’s Wallmark Black Friday sales and it’s now ‘a thing’ over here in the UK as well.
So! Just shows you what stories people tell themselves and others and what beliefs take hold as a result of those stories. There are people who genuinely believe it’s all about slavery and won’t have anything to do with it.
And the same thing happens to individuals. You will have some stories you tell yourself about why you do or do not think, believe or act a certain way in response to certain things. It might be you tried to give up smoking but life is too stressful and smoking helps you cope, while the truth is that the addiction to smoking is the problem. People who have never smoked don’t need a cigarette to help them cope with stress.
It might be that the story you tell yourself is that you are not good enough – to go for the promotion, to have a great relationship, to achieve better things. And this story (like Black Friday) stops you from even participating in something that would prove to you that you are, in fact, good enough.
Stories are powerful things, as the women at the retreat last week found out. And during the week, we were able to start to replace some of the stories that were not serving them with new stories instead. As one of the women on the retreat said, her story is now going to be – “Be Less Dougal, Be More Spiderman”. But that’s a story for another time….
If you need help rewriting your stories that keep you stuck, book a free 20 minute call with me to talk about RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) and whether it can help you redesign your future.