The term “Black Friday” has a fascinating history. This popular day is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, and it’s arguably the busiest shopping day of the year. In its early days, the term referred to a day in which Southern plantation owners could buy enslaved workers at a discounted price. However, that was more of a myth than an actual historical fact.
While there are many theories about the origin of the term “Black Friday,” the most widely accepted one is that the term first originated with the Philadelphia police, which faced massive headaches during the Army-Navy football game and the holiday shopping season. According to Taylor-Blake, the term “Black Friday” first appeared in a newsletter published in 1961. This newsletter mentioned that the day after Thanksgiving had become “Black Friday,” and described the merchants in Philadelphia grappling with a public-relations problem.
It became so popular that it has now become a four-day event, and it has even inspired other retail holidays. For instance, stores started opening earlier than usual on Black Friday, and many consumers – notably, the most dedicated shoppers – could head out right after Thanksgiving dinner.
Although the origin of Black Friday is unclear, the term dates back to the 1960s, when Philadelphia merchants began complaining to the police about a day when they were unable to make sales, it has become synonymous with massive profits for stores. In fact, it became an urban slang in Philadelphia for a few decades, and then it spread to other cities.
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when stores reopen and become profitable again. It’s also the day when retail stores go into the “black” after a year of struggle to break even. Before the retail industry began to spin the word, it had a more sinister meaning.
As the popularity of Black Friday continued to grow (read more here), retailers realized that it was a better opportunity to beat the holiday sales season. They began advertising their deals as early as Thanksgiving morning and even emailed specials to consumers weeks before the event. Popular items on sale during Black Friday include electronics, popular toys, apparel, and home furnishings.
The term “Black Friday” came about as a result of police in Philadelphia. At the time, the Army-Navy football game was in Philadelphia, and the city was flooded with shoppers and tourists. As a result, the city police were forced to work extra long shifts in order to keep up with the extra traffic. The chaos in stores led to a higher number of shoplifters.
Black Friday has been the first day of the holiday shopping season since the early 1990s, and major retailers make billions of dollars from the sales on the day after Thanksgiving. The day’s deals also attract aggressive crowds, and many shoppers have been crushed while trying to grab items before they’re gone. Some incidents have even resulted in assaults and shootings.