Black Friday

As I have taken to doing for Thanksgiving Day – and did so again yesterday – I have also posted several times for Black Friday. They go together as companion pieces, I think. Last year I posted a fairly typical piece, again borrowing from previous years and, as yesterday, I thought I’d do something a little different this year. There was one song in last year’s piece, which I think is worth sharing again:

As I said last year, I don’t think Rusty Cage is likely to make it as a world class singer, but he has rather nailed today, I think!

Despite its adoption as the name for today’s shopping bonanza, I first came across the phrase – as I suspect many others did – as the opening track on Steely Dan’s album Katy Lied:

As you will have seen from that helpful lyric video, the song is nothing to do with shopping. The excellent Songfacts site says this about it:

“Long before the term came to denote the shopping frenzy on the day after Thanksgiving, Steely Dan released this song about the original “Black Friday,” when on Friday, September 24, 1869 a failed ploy left many wealthy investors broke. The investors tried to corner the market on gold, buying as much of it as they could and driving up the price, but when the government found out, it released $4 million worth of gold into the market, driving down the price and clobbering the investors.”

And for good measure they also clear up the Australian reference:

“While the song is about events in the US, it mentions a town in Australia: “Fly down to Muswellbrook.” Muswellbrook is a rural town two hours North of Sydney that is full of kangaroos (thus the line, “Nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos”). It’s possible that Walter Becker and Donald Fagen selected the name of Muswellbrook from an atlas, mainly because it worked well with the next line, “I’m going to strike out all the big red words from my little black book.” They also wanted a place far away from Los Angeles.”

So now you know!

Nowadays we all know the name as being synonymous with sales and the search for bargains, and it seems to begin earlier every year: I’ve been receiving emails announcing Black Friday sales since the start of this month, although they have intruded a little on the annual Christmas promotion (which begins in September, of course). But at least it will all be over by the official start of the Easter shopping season on 26 December, and the return of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and their poor spelling. There are songs about the dangers of bargain hunting, and today is as good a day as any for them. Here’s one you may know:

I leave it to you to decide what ‘bargains’ Dolly may have been offering, but as the song was banned in some of the more prudish places it isn’t difficult to work out! It’s a pity that her bargains were all used, though finding anything amongst all that hair would have been fun…

Some bargains come with unforeseen costs, however, so beware:

Sadly, Charlie Daniels passed away in July, but that is a great song for which to to be remembered. His fiddle playing is incredible, though I don’t think he’d done a deal…

I’m going to leave you with another cautionary tale about the dangers of becoming addicted to shopping:

As lockdown restrictions are making instore shopping much harder this year I guess many of us will be taking to the interweb to seek out our bargains. I just hope you don’t do it like Weird Al! Watching that puts me in mind of those antique shows that are often on tv, when people spend silly money on rusty old rubbish – and then someone else pays even sillier money for it at auction. If I were looking for used bargains I know which of these videos I’d want to follow up – I’m pretty sure the return on my investment would be better.

In case you think Black Friday is inescapable there are some places where there aren’t any bargains to be had, as not everyone takes part…

I hope you have fun hunting your bargains, and don’t then find that you could have bought the same thing for less when the ‘sales’ are over – check the small print as it can happen! I’ve already made the one purchase I was planning to make, so I should be safe from the advertisers’ blandishments. As long as I don’t open my emails, that is…

12 thoughts on “Black Friday

  1. You won’t find me in any stores on Black Friday, Clive. I’m not a big fan of shopping to begin with. Throw in a day with shopping with a bunch of other people shopping, and I’m outta there.

    Now, listening to music, that’s another story. Come to think of it, I have no problem going to concerts with lots of people. I’d say my favorite from this bunch is the Steely Dan song. I never got into the Charlie Daniels Band that much, but there is no denying the man can handle a fiddle. One of my nephews was a big Weird Al fan, so even though I never bought any of his albums, I know many of his songs. I’m a big Greg Kihn fan, so I appreciated his I Lost on Jeopardy version. Don’t know if you folks get the game show Jeopardy on your side of the pond, but longtime host Alex Trebek just succumbed to cancer. He was a class act.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I much prefer to shop online, especially in pandemic days. Glad to see I’m not the only one!

      I think Weird Al is very clever, and am especially fond of his Amish Paradise video. I’ll have to look out the Jeopardy one, which I don’t remember. I’ve never seen the programme but according to Wikipedia there have been three UK versions in the 1980s and 90s – none of them lasted long!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That sign at the end is very funny and very British, Clive. We made all three of our planned electronic goods purchases today. We got very good prices, especially for Michael’s electric drum kit which had 47% off. We had already priced them so know it was a genuine bargain. I remember that Black Friday song from last year and it was well worth posting again. I’d not heard that song of Dolly Parton’s. I wonder if her hair is real?

    Liked by 1 person

    • To us, it’s very Yorkshire – they think of themselves as a separate, superior nation to the rest of us!

      You did well to get your bargains and it sounds as though the planning paid off. That’s how it should be done!

      I doubt that was Dolly’s real hair: she once said in an interview ‘it costs a lot of money to look this cheap’ and I suspect wigs are expensive!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Clive. I’ve got the Katy Lied LP and I wondered what Black Friday was about (it’s not easy to figure what many Steely Dan songs are about). I knew it wasn’t about shopping but I never got to research it. Thanks for the info and another entertaining post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Clive – the rusty cage song was super fun- and scary about the reality of what goes down with traditional Black Friday crowds

    And did they really censor that Dolly Parton song?wow – and seeing her perform reminded me of the excellent performer she is- 😊
    And you nailed the silliness of how early Black Friday deals are offered – kind of missing the point -and laughed at –
    “start of the Easter shopping season on 26 December”

    Liked by 1 person

    • No prizes for musical merit but Rusty really did nail the day, didn’t he.

      Yes, several country stations read more than they were probably meant to into the lyrics and refused to play it. She had a #1 on the country chart with it so probably wasn’t too bothered.

      Happy to have made you laugh – it wasn’t intended as a serious post 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – I know it was intended to really highlight different parts if Black Friday!
        And as I enjoyed this post – I was with my son and his fiancé and my hubs and they all heard the eBay song and you gave us a nice flash back!
        Word al had such a gift – is he even making music anymore? I wonder
        And also had a quick flashback with the Charlie Daniels song
        Did not know he died this year

        Liked by 1 person

      • Glad to have provided some family entertainment for you, Yvette!

        Weird Al has continued making records but hasn’t released anything since 2014. He’s probably made enough money to retire on!

        Yes, Charlie passed in the summer. He was a superb fiddler.

        Liked by 1 person

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