Another year, another Thanksgiving feast. Another year, another Black Friday.

Black Friday: The most infamous shopping day ever. It’s the one day on which nearly every retailer makes more money than at any other given time of the year, and it’s the most chaotic and partially culturally disturbing thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of not witnessing.

Masses and masses, gathering together in droves to trample each other down over the hottest and best bargains on the market. Injuries, arguments, shootings and pepper spraying has gained the day after Thanksgiving ultimate infamy in the lives of Christmas shoppers – while being the single most anticipated day of the year for retail company big-shots. Profits, profits, profits, and they’re not just coming out of anywhere.

Historically, Black Friday has always meant one thing – lower prices and killer bargains (sometimes literally). Packs of free Crayolas, insane discounts, limited supplies and opening times as early as midnight have attracted crowds of thousands of people, with everyone eagerly clawing at this and that in an effort to get as much as they can before the instant in which all supplies are depleted – and that instant comes relatively early.

The consumerist tradition that is Black Friday is a relatively new one, and it has always unofficially marked the beginning of the Christmas season. Retailers have therefore used it to henceforth mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season with their own gifts – mass sales. At first, Black Friday wasn’t the most popular of shopping days – though that would soon change. The term was given form in the 19th century, where it was attributed with the financial crisis; however usage of the term as the day after Thanksgiving rose up in popularity during the 60s. Since then, its rise in popularity is recorded throughout 1993 all the way to 2003, and Black Friday made its way from being the tenth busiest shopping day of the year, to being the busiest of them all.

And that’s when the incidents started coming up. Tramplings, heated arguments, fights, people cutting lines with pepper sprays and a man armed with knives and a pepper spray grenade. And what, may you ask, would be the justification for this chaotic madness? What was the reason for the violence and the insensibility? Reduced prices and parking lot spaces.

But even so, Black Friday has made a large dent in the accounting books of major retailers, accounting for as much as 26% of Wal-Mart’s year to date net profits. This very fact is part of the assumed creation for the day’s name – due to the color of ink accountants use to pen down profitable days vs. days of loss. The January-November phase in accounting usually is penned down in red, to account the losses, but once Black Friday pokes its ugly head, accountants bust out the black ink and begin happily scrawling down the profits.

In another theory, the name originated in good old Philly back in the 60s, where bus drivers and police officers named it the Black Friday for its insane traffic jams and number of incidents. Similarly, another theory is that the name originated through the word of mouths of large retail company’s employees, because for most retail workers, Black Fridays are dark days of long shifts, hard hours and a constant potential of injury (and even death).

However the name came to be, it remains an apt way to describe the shopping madness that is the day after Thanksgiving, and I do find it somewhat ironic how immediately after declaring appreciation for the things in life, people go out in an attempt to selfishly gather as much as they can for as little money as they can manage, with little regard for anyone else’s safety.