Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black Friday. Where did it come from?

We know what Black Friday is today. It's a mad dash for savings. A night camped out in front of our favorite store to be the first to get those savings. When those doors open, it can be a stampede of savings crazed madness. What has become of us?

Every year, there are fights and there are serious injuries. Some see this day as a holiday in itself and go out right after their Thanksgiving feast to wait in line for the big opening. Others bring camping equipment and stay days ahead to ensure they are getting the best deals. To each their own I say. 

But, how did this all get started? When did this start? I remember as a kid their being Black Friday Sales too, so it's been around awhile. We asked ourselves this question and started digging. We wanted to know the history of Black Friday and the crazed madness that ensues. Let's see what we cam up with. 

The term "Black Friday" could refer to retail companies going "into the black" on the year. A lot of stores may be "in the red" up until this big holiday sale, where they make up a lot of their profits at this time. But, the truth may be a bit darker than this. 

The first time the term "Black Friday" recorded its use had nothing to do with shopping at all. It was a financial crisis, specifically the crash of the US gold market back in 1869. Two Wall Street financiers worked together to buy up as much gold as they could in hopes to drive the price up and sell it for profit. On Friday, September 24, 1869, they were found out, which sent the stock market into a free fall and bankrupted everyone. 

The most popular theory related to Black Friday tradition is to retailers. Story is, after the whole year of operating at a loss ("in the red"), stores would earn a profit ("in the black") on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers spent a great deal of money on discounted merchandise. Retailers did in fact use to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday is the officially sanctioned, but inaccurate one behind the tradition. 

The real story behind Black Friday is not quite as sunny as retailers might have you believe. Back in the 1950's, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in the advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would the Philadelphia police not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding the law enforcement headache. 

By 1961, Black Friday had caught on in the city of brotherly love, to the extent that the city's merchants and boosters tried unsuccessfully to change it to "Big Friday" in order to remove the negative connection. The term didn't spread to the rest of the country until much later, even as recently as 1985 in some parts of the country. Sometime in the late 80's, retailers were finally able to shake the negative meaning with the term, and turn it into something very positive for them and their customers. It was turned into the "red to black" concept which was mentioned earlier, and the notion that the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America's stores finally turned a profit. 

Then people. Now animals.

Their Black Friday story stuck. Soon after, the darker, Philadelphia meaning of the term was all but forgotten. Since, the one day sales craze has turned into a four day event and spawned other "holidays" like Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday. Stores started to open earlier and earlier on that Friday after Thanksgiving, and now the most dedicated shoppers can head out right after their feast. An estimated 135.8 million of us plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. (not me)  

Pretty crazy what it has become. These last couple of years have also started plenty of controversy with some stores opening on Thanksgiving. It's nice to see this year I have heard a couple stores announce they will not be open, allowing their employees to enjoy their time off with their family. I hope that trend sticks. Happy Holidays everyone. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween History, Legends, and Tales

Halloween is a tradition of celebration, superstition, and most importantly CANDY! Long Ride Shields delved deep into the tradition to find out some little-known facts about this 'spooky' holiday.

Halloween is thought to have made its origins over 2,000 years ago with an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in). During this festival, people would divine futures, light bonfires, and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. The Celts would celebrate their new year on November 1st. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the cold and dark winter. The Celts also believed that on the night before the new year, the veil between the world of the living and dead would be lifted and ghosts would return to earth. Druids and priests would use this time to divine futures for the next year and children would dress up and go to their neighbors and ask for food, wine, and money in exchange for a song, poetry, or even a joke.

Toward the end of the Roman empire, two roman festivals were combined with the now conquered, Celt's festival, the first being Feralia. This day was marked to commemorate the passing of the dead. Second, the festival of Pomona, which was to celebrate the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona is symbolized with an apple, which many believe is the origins of bobbing for apples.

Later, during the height of the Holy Roman Empire, Pope Gregory III moved a feast for martyrs from May 13 to November 1 and included a celebration for all saints, not just martyrs. This feast was known as 'All-Hallows Day and has since been known as 'All Saints Day'. All Saints Day was celebrated very similarly to Samhain, where people would light big bonfires, have parades and dress up as saints, angels, and devils. The night before this day was called 'All-Hallows Eve' and eventually shortened to Halloween as we know it today.

Early American Halloween was very limited due to rigid religious beliefs, but as different European customs as well as Native American beliefs combined, a distinctly American Halloween began to develop. Colonial Halloween features the telling of ghost stories and mischief of all kinds.

The flood of immigrants to America during the mid 1800's helped to popularize the Halloween tradition. Americans began to dress up and go house-to-house to ask for food or money. In the late 1800's, Americans tried to move the holiday to a more community-based event rather than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Parents were encouraged to remove anything 'frightening' or 'grotesque' from the celebration. Due to this move, many superstitions and traditions were lost.

Halloween had always been a holiday filled with magic, mystery, and superstition. For instance, we avoid crossing paths with black cats as it may bring us bad luck. Many people, during the Middle Ages, believed that witches would disguise themselves as black cats to avoid detection. Some traditions even had to do with love. In particular, helping young women to find their future husbands. In Ireland, a matchmaking chef would bury a ring in mashed potatoes on Halloween night in the hopes it would bring her future husband to dinner.

In Scotland, girls would name hazelnuts and burn them to decern which would be their true love. Another legend was that a young lady would drink a concoction made of walnuts, nutmeg, hazelnuts, and other things (Spiced Latte anyone?) Halloween night and would dream of her future husband. Regardless of whether we were trying to get love advice to avoid bad luck, all these Halloween superstitions relied on the good will of spirits that came out on this day.
Trick or Treaters in 1950's
By the 1950's, town leaders successfully limited vandalism and Halloween was directed to the young. With the high number of young children due to the baby boomers, Halloween parties were moved from civic center to the classroom and at home. Trick-or-Treating was an inexpensive way for the community to celebrate this holiday together. In theory, families would prevent tricks from being played on them and their homes by providing the neighbor children with candy and other small treats.
1950's Candy

So whether you are in it for romantic aspirations, to know what the future holds, or just holding back on toilet paper in exchange for something sweet, we here at Long Ride Shields hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween . . . Enjoy The Ride!
Today, one-quarter of all candy sold annually
in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

Composed by Long Ride Shields. Information cited below. Staff. "History of Halloween." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Check YOU out!

We wouldn't be here without you, our customers. We wanted to show our appreciation by sharing your shared images and testimonials. There are some great pictures here. Hope you enjoy.

  "James, thought you might like to see a few pics with my LRS installed. It fit perfectly and looks and performs great! Thanks, .C.B"

"Just installed my new Javelin on my 2016 Street Glide Special. I think you guys might have hit a home run with this one. Went for a ride yesterday and I swear I could probably hold a match in front of my face and it would not get blown out. Absolutely love it!"

"I received my Javelin 7" etched, medium tint windshield for my 2016 Tri Glide Ultra. 
I can't be more pleased with the product, communication, service, and fast shipment. I am a fan for life."

"Here is a phot you can use in your collection. Thanks. We ride no matter what the conditions and LRS are the best."

"Glad you guys decided to make the trip. I really enjoyed my 24" light tint and vented on the way home. It even rained a while to let me see how well it did in the rain. Love it and I passed along a number of my friends from Chapter Y in Birmingham that purchased one also. Great product."

"Finally caught a break in the weather and ran my bike down the road to try out the new 8" Ultra Shield. I don't feel like a 'bobblehead' anymore.....Thanks James for a great deal and super fast shipping. You guys are #1 in my book!!!"

"Thank you James. Awesome shield!"

"Ordered/installed my 18" LRS re-curve...finally got to try it out last Friday. This windshield simply rocks!!! No buffeting and I can see over it much easier than my previous aftermarket shield of similar size. Thanks...great product!!"

"Took a little ride from Indiana to Key West last week, 5 days 2957 miles of bugs and rain, with my 8" medium tint recurve Long Ride Shield. It has been on this bike for 3 years now and well over 45k miles. Still works and looks as good as the day it was installed. My FLHT and friend's Road King with Long Ride Shields in the Smoky Mountains on our return trip. Great product! Thanks guys."

"Second purchase from LRS. Thanks James for helping me with my order. Got the new shield today and put it on. Looks Great! Semper Fi LRS!"

"Hi I just got my RK Elite shield in the mail - I am so pleased, I had to report back! Feel free to use it: I have two HD shields for my 96 cuin Evo Road King - one started life as the original size (20"?), and I have systematically cut it down about 1" at a time, in an attempt to get rid of buffeting while maintaining a free view over the shield (tall torso, 5'10"). No success. Then I came across LRS thru a forum, and thought I would give it a try; ordered a 18" clear polycarbonate shield - RK Elite. On the first ride (yesterday) I started noticing the lack of buffeting as I was passing 45 mph. Hittin 70+, still no buffeting; only a slight feel of the wind on top of my helmet - great! It does not look like a big design improvement, but that forward curve on top of the shield really works! Now, if you can experiment with a mini-shield that does (almost) the same, I will be the first in line...A great product, and I can now ride much more relaxed - thanks! All the best, K, Norway."

"10" rambler on the 8-ball! Absolutely love it! I'm 5'8" and this is perfect size."

We want to thank everyone of our customers and tell you how much we appreciate your pictures and your feedback. It's so great to see so many of you out there loving our shields. We are proud of what we do. We make these shields right here in our facility every day! It's great to see them start out as a piece of plastic, and end up to you, on your ride, giving you miles and miles of a much more comfortable ride. Thank you again, and keep 'em coming!