Black Friday Sale Vocabulary

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Hi students. It’s Shayna from Espresso English. I’m going to give you another English in the news lesson today. Today’s topic is all about Black Friday. Now, If you don’t know what Black Friday is, here in the United States we have a holiday called Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was last Thursday. That’s a day when we give thanks and we are thankful and grateful for all the good things we have. We spend time with family.

The day after Thanksgiving, which is a Friday, is called Black Friday. On that day, a lot of stores give big discounts and major, major sales on their products. Black Friday was two days ago. I read an article talking about some of the details of Black Friday and what happened. Today, I’m going to teach you some of that vocabulary.

Let me make sure the live stream is okay and then we’ll get started. All right. We have 13 people watching. Let’s start today’s lesson. Stick around until the end of the lesson because I’m going to tell you about a very special sale that I’m participating in where you can get 80% off some great English courses. Let’s get going.

kick off

The article I read said that Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season. Kick off is a phrasal verb. It means to start. We usually use kick off when something is the first event in a series or the first event in a process. When the article says that Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, that means that Black Friday begins this special time of year that’s about one month before Christmas, which is the holiday shopping season.

We also see kick off sometimes when talking about sports saying, “This football game kicks off the season,” meaning it’s the first game of the season, which is a series of games. Kick off is used when something begins, usually an event, a series of events, or a process. Black Friday is what kicks off the holiday shopping season. It’s what begins that time when everybody is running to the stores and buying Christmas presents for other people.

gear up for

It said that this year a lot of people are actually shopping online instead of going to the stores. That means that the delivery companies are gearing up for a very busy time. Gear up for is another phrasal verb. Remember a phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and some prepositions. It has a specific meaning. If the delivery companies are gearing up for a busy season, that means they are preparing. To gear up for something means to prepare for it.

In this case, the delivery companies are going to need to deliver a lot of packages in the next few weeks. They’re gearing up for this season. Maybe that means they are hiring some extra staff temporarily. Maybe they are checking that all their equipment is okay. Gear up for is a phrasal verb that simply means to prepare.


The article also said that this year’s Black Friday sales are expected to surpass last year’s sales. Surpass means to be greater than, to be higher or bigger. If this year’s sales will surpass last year’s sales, that means this year’s sales will be higher than last year. Surpass is a verb you’ll see sometimes in business reports, in articles. It just means to be greater in quantity, amount, or number.

wrap up

In the article, they interviewed one lady who was at the store buying some things at the Black Friday sale. When they talked to her, she was wrapping up her time at the store. Then she was planning to go home and do more shopping online. Wrap up is another phrasal verb. To wrap up simply means to finish, to bring to a close.

We’ll sometimes see this at the end of meetings. When the meeting is going to end very soon, the person will say, “We’re going to wrap up in a few minutes.” That means we’re going to finish and bring things to an end. Maybe at the end of a speech the speaker will say, “Before I wrap up, I just want to give you one last point,” or something like that. Wrap up means to finish, to bring to an end.

It’s a funny choice that they use this word wrap up because wrap, this verb right here, has another meaning. If you wrap a gift that means you cover it in decorative paper. A lot of people wrap gifts for Christmas or for people’s birthday. It’s fun to take off the decorative paper and be surprised by the gift inside. Wrap, just the verb without up, wrap means to cover a gift in decorative paper. We call that paper wrapping paper.

In this article, wrapping up means to be finishing. This lady they talked to was finishing her shopping at the store. Then, she was going to go home and shop more online. I thought it was funny that they chose wrap up. In this context of talking about buying gifts, we also use the verb wrapping to talk about covering the gifts in decorative paper.


The article also talked about how sometimes stores and especially delivery companies might experience a few hiccups. This word has two meanings. Hiccups literally means it’s something that happens with your body when you swallow some air. Your body reacts and you go “hic.” That’s hiccups. I’m sure everyone has experienced them at some point or another. It’s just a little minor reaction of your body that is trying to get the extra air out. In the context of the article, it’s not talking about that reaction of your body. When it said the delivery companies experience hiccups, it’s using the word hiccups in a more metaphorical way to mean small inconveniences and small problems.

If a process or an event has some hiccups, it means everything doesn’t go perfectly. There are a few minor problems. Just like when you have the hiccups in your body when you’re going “hic,” it’s not really a major problem. It’s just a little bit annoying. In this same way, hiccups during an event or a process or something like that, mean small problems or minor things that just aren’t going right.

The reason that some companies experience hiccups is because at this time of year, there are just a lot of people who are buying gifts and there are a lot of packages to send out. When the volume is so great, then sometimes there are these small problems, like maybe delivering to the wrong address or sending the wrong product. Those would all be classified as hiccups, minor problems.

on strike

One of the problems happened last week. There is a very big website here called They work with airplanes to deliver the packages. One problem they had was that some of the pilots of those planes went on strike. When workers go on strike, it means they stop working. They refuse to work. A strike is done because the workers are demanding better conditions. Maybe they want a better salary. Maybe they want shorter working hours because they think they have to work too much or something else. When workers go on strike, it’s a way to pressure the company to give them better benefits or improve their working conditions.

In this case, the pilots of the planes that were making the deliveries for, the pilots went on strike. The company had to negotiate with them in order to offer a solution, maybe offer some more benefits so that the pilots would be willing to go to work. Your country might have strikes also. Again, when workers stop working trying to demand better conditions from the company.

a flood of

The article also used this phrase to describe the large volume of orders during this holiday shopping season. They said that a lot of websites and stores experienced a flood of orders. You might know this word flood because it also describes a natural disaster.

A flood is when there is too much water. It rains a lot and the street are filled with water. Maybe a river comes up and floods the houses. It fills the houses with water. The word flood does refer to this natural disaster of there being too much water. It causes damage to houses, cars, and land.

When used in this way, a flood of orders, it means there was an excessive number of orders. This is a metaphor. It’s using a word from another area to make you imagine … a flood is a lot of water. When you have a flood of orders that means there are a lot of orders, people buying things during this holiday shopping season.

We can use it as a noun or a verb. For example, you can say people flooded into the stores because they were so excited about the sale. If people are flooding in, that means there are a lot of people that are going into the store very quickly. In this context, flood means a very large number that comes very quickly and suddenly.

a wild card

The other problem that sometimes happens during this season is bad weather. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are starting to get into winter. Sometimes there can be snow, ice. The article said that the weather can be a wild card.

A wild card just means something unpredictable. It’s impossible to know, for example over the next few weeks, if we’re going to have a lot of snow or ice. Then it would be hard for this flood of orders to be delivered to the customers. The delivery trucks and delivery cars have to go through the bad weather. Sometimes that can impact sales. I think it was last year or maybe a couple of years ago, there was some bad weather during the holiday shopping season. That made some of the deliveries late. The weather is always a wild card. It’s something you can’t predict. You can’t depend on it. You just don’t know if the weather is going to be good or bad. Okay?

Those are eight vocabulary words and expressions, some phrasal verbs and expressions from this article about Black Friday. I hope you’ve enjoyed the lesson.

English Power Pack sale – 80% off!

On Monday, I will be participating in a very exciting Black Friday sale. It’s called the English Power Pack. The English Power Pack has seven courses from seven different teachers.

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Every time we do the English Power Pack, it’s different. We did it last year during Black Friday. We also did an English Power Pack during the 4th of July. Every time, it’s a different mix of products. Even if you’ve bought the English Power Pack before, this year it will be all new, all different products.

The sale starts on Monday, November 28, 2016. To get more information about the English Power Pack, you can click on the link that is in this video description. I will also add a link in the YouTube video after I’m finished broadcasting. You can get more information. Make sure to check your email on Monday. I will send you a message reminding you that the 80% discount on the Power Pack is available.

We’re going to do a live class where you can meet all the different teachers in the Power Pack. I think one of the best parts of the English Power Pack is the opportunity to learn from different teachers. We all have different voices, different methods, and different ways of presenting. It’s a great opportunity to learn from different people.

On Monday, you can join us for a special live class where all seven of the English Power Pack teachers will be online talking to you a little bit more about our lessons. Again, for more information you can click the link in the video description or on the video.

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson on Black Friday sale vocabulary. Feel free to share it with all of your friends. There are almost 100 people watching. Woo-hoo. I’m so glad you’ve joined me for today’s live lesson. I will see you next time. Bye-bye.