Elizabeth Darcy and Black Friday Sales
By Barbara Tiller Cole
(I am sharing what I hope is a fun series of interviews between Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy and myself last holiday season. They were posted at various sites during a blog tour I did. Some of you may have seen one or two of them, or perhaps more. But I will be re-posting them all here, starting today, in honor of the Special Holiday Cover re-release of Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy.)
Friday began the shopping rush for the upcoming Holiday Season. While I am not a huge fan of Day after Thanksgiving sales (now called Black Friday since 2005), I know many of my friends anticipate them all year long. While contemplating that I was quite shocked and extremely excited when Elizabeth Darcy, from my story Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy, stopped by to talk with me. I will not question how she managed to transport herself to my humble abode (after all I wrote a story about ghostly visitations), but she did want to speak to me about this particular Holiday custom. I recorded our conversation and will transcribe it for your entertainment.
EDarcy: Miss Cole, or should I say Lady Cole?
BTCole: Ms. Cole, but I would be happy if you would wish to call me Barbara, Mrs. Darcy.
EDarcy: I would be honored, Barbara. Please call me, Elizabeth.
BTCole: Thank you, Elizabeth. I understand you have some questions to ask me about the twenty-first century Holiday custom of Black Friday?
EDarcy: I do. First of all, I cannot understand all the signs I see about Black Friday? Is a plague coming? Has someone very important in your world died? Are you all to be in mourning and wear black clothes on Friday? I just cannot determine the meaning. Most peculiar of all is something will be sold on that day? Is it some type of armband or mourning jewelry?
BTCole: No, Elizabeth. Black Friday refers to the custom of deeply discounting merchandise for sale on the day after Thanksgiving. It is called ‘Black’ because most stores open in the middle of the night for these sales to begin, while it is still black outside. For many businesses it is from this point on that they are making profit during the year, or being ‘in the black’. ‘In the black’ means they are on the profit side of the profit and loss statement for their business.
EDarcy: Thank you, Barbara. I have heard of this holiday called Thanksgiving, but do not know much about it. Can you tell me more?
BTCole: In the United Stated, the Thanksgiving holiday originated in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 as a celebration of a successful harvest after arriving in the colonies.
EDarcy: Fitzwilliam and I have studied some of the history of the formation of the colonies and their uprising against the British. So this is not an event to celebrate freedom from their native homeland?
BTCole: No, it is not. And even if you understand the history, over the years, it has just become a time when family and friends get together for a good meal and talk about their gratitude for the year.
EDarcy: The history of the event was about a successful harvest you said? It sounds similar to our harvest celebration. I assume you clear the tables after dinner and dance a jig, or a similar dance?
BTCole: I am sure there are some families that might dance after the meal, but my family mostly relaxes on the couch and either takes a nap or watches football games.
EDarcy: Football games?
BTCole: Believe me, you are much better off not knowing about them. Many a modern woman becomes a football widow during the Bowl game season.
EDarcy: Bowl Games? I am quite a proficient at lawn bowling! Fitzwilliam and I love to play with our children.
BTCole: No, Elizabeth. It is not like lawn bowling. I am not sure I can explain it appropriately. It is nothing like games in the Regency period. Believe me, you are much better off not knowing about it. Let us just leave it that the men folk go off and watch these sporting events—perhaps not unlike they disappeared into the billiard room or the smoking room after dinner in your time.
EDarcy: My dear Darcy taught me how to play billiards. He particularly enjoys getting behind me and helping me handle the long pole to manipulate the balls into a pocket. So this football is like that?
BTCole: Oh dear! I am not explaining this well. Perhaps I can show you a game on TV.
EDarcy: What is a TV?
BTCole: This is also a bit difficult to explain. I will call it an electronic box that shows sports, and plays and news. It is almost as good as being in attendance. Instead of going to the opera or the theatre, you can watch the events on this device.
EDarcy: It sounds quite fascinating. Perhaps I will have an opportunity to watch one of these electronic boxes while I am here in your century. I still find I need to understand more about the purpose of Black Friday. It is about buying things?
BTCole: It is about purchasing deeply discounted merchandise for sale on that one day.
EDarcy: I am trying to understand this. Would it be similar to my going to the modiste shop the day after Thanksgiving and receiving a discount on the things I ordered?
BTCole: That is probably the closest to what transpires in our century, but few people purchase their clothes made to order in this century. We go to stores and purchase them ready-made. They come in a wide variety of sizes.
EDarcy: You mean all the classes shop in these stores? Are there not shops that specialize in catering to the upper classes?
BTCole: There are special designer shops, that is true, but even in those stores they have sales. Most people purchase items off the rack.
EDarcy: Off the rack, you say. I think that Fitzwilliam likes my rack. (she giggled)
BTCole: Mrs. Darcy! I am happy to see a bit of your impertience showing through. I am sure Mr. Darcy appreciates all of you, but this kind of rack is actually a long stand that holds the items, and those that are shopping can look through the items as they hang. It works in a similar way to the rod in your wardrobe closet. At least I am assuming I am correct in that conclusion.
EDarcy: I certainly have rods in my closet. But there are none in my good friend Mrs. Collins’ closet. Mr. Collins insisted in putting shelves in the closets as Lady Catherine declared it the most efficient use of the space. And as we all know, she is never wrong. (she laughed)
BTCole: (laughing) How are you and your ‘aunt’ getting along these days?
EDarcy: I am quite happy to report that with the intervention of Fitzwilliam’s ghosts, she is quickly becoming a very dear friend. It may sound impossible, but I am very happy to report that it is indeed true. Thank you, dear author, for suggesting that as a possibility in your story. Perhaps I can tell you more about it and you will write about it in the future!
BTCole: I would be happy to learn more about how the ghosts intervened into Lady Catherine’s life. I could write about that for next holiday season. Would you like to accompany me to the Black Friday sales this coming Friday, Elizabeth?
EDarcy: While I cannot promise I will be allowed to return, I would love the opportunity to do so! I hope to see you soon!
BTCole: Thanks again Elizabeth, for coming and visiting with me today.
I will be giving away 2 softcover copies, and 2 eBook copies of Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy to be chose from comments from this series of interviews. Those who comment on each will be given additional entries for each comment as well as being members of this site, my author's blog, Tweeting this post, or sharing it on facebook, etc. For THIS comment tell me about what YOU did on Black Friday!
Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy Blurb:
A Jane Austen/Charles Dickens crossover story, Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy takes the best of both classics and spins them into a delightful Holiday yarn! F.E. Darcy has fallen into pitiful self-loathing and sorrowful angst-ridden despair; all of this due to his belief that he has lost forever the chance to marry the only woman he has ever loved—Elizabeth Bennet. Seeing her son in such a state, the Ghost of Anne Darcy reaches out to him; informing him that three ghosts would visit him and give him hope. Will these Spirits provide him with the courage to try again to win the esteem of his one true soul mate? Barbara Tiller Cole, an Atlanta native and the writer of the popular book White Lies and Other Half Truths, presents this family friendly classic—a delightful combination of the best of her two favorite authors, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Barbara credits her parents with fostering a love for both of these authors. Each Christmas, Barbara’s father would sit and read Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol to the family. Her mother consistently challenged her to improve her mind by extensive reading, Jane Austen style. This book is dedicated to the memory of Cliff and Jeanne and the season they loved the best.