The Truth of Black FridayNovember 24, 2017
As you pack away the last of the stuffing, leave the wishbone out to dry and sneak the last bite of pumpkin pie after your Thanksgiving feast, it’s time to lace up your shoes and get ready for the next big day of the holiday season, Black Friday.
Known for being the largest shopping day of the year, Black Friday is the first official shopping day of the Christmas season. Retailers kick off the shopping season with strong sales featuring limited-time offers and deep discounts on the year’s most wanted items. While many early risers anticipate these sales, others bemoan the extended store hours that have crept into many Thanksgiving dinners around the country.
The History of Black Friday
Many people may recall a time when Thanksgiving weekend was a simple weekend, as long as you didn’t have to host dinner) filled with family, friends and football. However, this memory for a more simple time is polished with nostalgia and isn’t entirely accurate!
Traditionally, the Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday has always been a profitable day for stores, and many believe that it's the busiest shopping day of the year. This belief led to the myth that Black Friday was named that because it was a day a store could go from being "in the red" to making a profit and being "in the black."
Even though many people believe that is the reason it's called Black Friday, the real story is a bit more complicated! The phrase “Black Friday” was coined by Philadelphia police in 1961 to describe the chaos of the day. Not only was it a day where shoppers flocked to the city for shopping, but also fans arrived for the traditional Army/Navy football game. This flood of people wreaked havoc on the city and would cause numerous headaches for police force who weren't allowed to take time off during the holiday weekend.
The use of the term “Black Friday” slowly spread around the region, but it didn’t become a national phrase until the 1980s. That is when retailers decided that they didn’t like the negative connotations associated with the name. This marketing effort was the driving force behind spreading the myth that it was such a good shopping day that a store could go from being in the red to turning a profit.
As years went on, retailers decided to embrace the “Black Friday” mystique and enticed consumers to shop early and often with deep discounts and special promotions. Now it’s not unusual for Black Friday sales to be leaked well in advance of Thanksgiving and stores to open before you’ve even cleared the Thanksgiving table!
With the proliferation of online shopping, internet retailers aren't about to be left out. In addition to Black Friday, the first Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend is now called Cyber Monday. So don’t worry! If you miss out during Black Friday, you will have another chance on incredible deals on Monday!