In the rest of the U.S., November 29 is this year’s Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. (In fact, I’ve been seeing Black Friday promotions for weeks.) Here in Oakland, though, we’re a little more colorful.
Plaid Friday, a day to shop locally.
From the Plaid Friday website:
The name Plaid Friday was conceived from the idea of weaving the individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric that celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the relaxing and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday,” and is designed promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.
Oakland claims to have invented Plaid Friday; the earliest mentions I could find are from 2010. Since then, it’s spread to San Francisco’s Mission District; Dover, New Hampshire; Glens Falls, New York; Pembroke, Ontario (Canada); and probably other cities as well. In Pembroke, you get discounts if you wear plaid.
Also colorful: J. Peterman, the online and catalog retailer of “uncommonly good stuff,” which wants us to celebrate Red Wednesday, “Black Friday’s impetuous cousin.”
“Because it’s not Friday until it’s Friday.”
Washington Post copy editor Bill Walsh has a question about Black Friday:
Below a certain age, do people think Black Friday is an actual holiday that retailers are simply acknowledging?— Bill Walsh (@TheSlot) November 25, 2013
Could be. Black Friday as we know it goes back to 1961, as Ben Zimmer explained a few years ago.