Most people who know me, know I’m obsessed with New York. I visit once a year (I’d go more if I could…) and I’m always adding to my NYC bucket list. I love reading the New York Times and books set in NYC. I also write (sporadically) about my travels and New York culture here. I could go on!
I know some people have a love-hate relationship with the place. It’s not for everyone… and then there’s Trump… but, most of us love looking at an old photo or two of NYC I’m sure. So, today, seeing as we’re all about ‘Black Friday’ over here in Little Britain, I wanted to share this cool album of photos taken by Nina Leen for LIFE Magazine, showing what Black Friday was like at legendary NY department store, Macy’s, in 1948. Somehow in retro black and white the whole experience looks more appealing than some of the stampedes we see today…
It wasn’t technically called Black Friday back then, but the day after Thanksgiving has always been a big event on the American retail calendar, and in 1948, Macy’s – at one million square feet – was the biggest store in the world which meant prepping for the holiday season was a military operation involving 14,000 staff, 400,000 items and 250,000 shoppers. Yikes!
Planning entailed both logistical and motivational efforts. At a giant pep rally, the morale of staff members was lifted by a harmonious rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Telephone operators prepared to respond to as many as six questions per minute. Plainclothes employee detectives trained to spot shoplifters from among the hordes. And clerks readied themselves to handle fluid pricing on that year’s hottest items—from striped pajamas to “simulated” pearls to Macy’s house-brand Scotch—which fluctuated as many as five times per day as reports of competitors’ pricing came in.