Black Friday: storia e significato dell’apoteosi del consumismo

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Il Black Friday rappresenta oggi un appuntamento imperdibile in molti Paesi del mondo, Italia compresa, ma quali sono le origini di questa tradizione ormai assurta a simbolo del moderno capitalismo? Scopriamolo insieme

Anche nel 2020, in piena pandemia da COVID-19, il Black Friday non tarda ad arrivare, seppur opportunamente in forma limitata per quel che concerne gli acquisti in negozio. A partire da oggi, infatti, sono tanti i giganti dell’e-commerce (veri benificiari della situazione) che daranno il via a una lunghissima serie di offerte che si protrarrà fino al prossimo lunedì, giorno del cosiddetto Cyber Monday, dedicato agli sconti sui prodotti tecnologici.

Tradurre letteralmente l’espressione Black Friday non è certo complesso, ma alquanto difficile, invece, pare risulti risalire alle radici di questa particolare usanza ormai diffusa a tal punto da divenire una vera e propria apoteosi del consumismo in larga parte del globo terrestre.

Partiamo però col parlare di quel che è sicuro: il Black Friday giunge sempre all’indomani del Thanksgiving Day, ricorrenza annuale che viene celebrata negli Stati Uniti il quarto giovedì di novembre. Tuttavia, a differenza del Giorno del Ringraziamento – festeggiato sin dal lontano 1621 – il “Venerdì Nero” cominciò a insediarsi nella cultura americana soltanto nel 1924, quando la grande catena di distribuzione Macy’s – proprio in occasione del venerdì successivo al Thanksgiving Day – organizzò una speciale parata per inaugurare l’inizio della stagione dello shopping natalizio, con sostanziose riduzioni di prezzo atte a invogliare i consumatori all’acquisto. Con l’avanzare del tempo, poi, l’originale iniziativa coinvolse un numero progressivamente maggiore di attività commerciali, diffondendosi lentamente nell’intero Paese ed esplodendo definitivamente intorno agli anni Ottanta, coincidentemente alla presidenza Reagan.

Se la storia del Black Friday sembra dunque essere abbastanza chiara, altrettanto non si può dire del suo significato. L’origine dell’aggettivo “Black“, infatti, è tutt’oggi avvolto da un alone di mistero: c’è chi pensa, per esempio, che derivi dall’antica abitudine dei proprietari terrieri di comprare schiavi a prezzi stracciati in prossimità del periodo invernale, oppure chi, ancora, lo lega alla vecchia partita di football Esercito contro Marina del 1961 – tenutasi appunto il venerdì dopo il Giorno del Ringraziamento – durante la quale la polizia di Philadelphia si trovò a gestire una problematica mole di traffico stradale.

L’ipotesi più accreditata (o semplicemente più comoda) in merito alla provenienza del suddetto termine, comunque, fa riferimento ai classici libri contabili dei commercianti, sui quali si annotano in rosso le perdite e in nero i guadagni. Secondo tale versione, quindi, il Black Friday rappresenterebbe il giorno in cui i negozianti, grazie alle promozioni effettuate, utilizzano solo inchiostro nero, o, in altre parole, costituirebbe il giorno più remunerativo dell’anno.

Congetture etimologiche a parte, possiamo senz’altro affermare che il Black Friday detiene – soprattutto negli USA, ma anche nel resto del mondo – una rilevanza determinante, in particolare in qualità di indicatore statistico relativo a salute economica e propensione ai consumi di un Paese alle porte del Natale.

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