Why “Black Friday” is Black?


I don’t know whether you are or not, but I am curious regarding the story behind Black Friday.

According to Talk.edu resources, it marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and has become a tradition. The Importance of the Christmas shopping season is enormous to American retailers. While most retailers intend to and actually do make profits during every quarter of the year, some retailers are so dependent on the Christmas shopping season that the quarter including Christmas produces all the year’s profits and compensates for losses from other quarters.

On this day, most major retailers open extremely early and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season and Black Friday is not an official holiday.

Why ‘Black Friday’? Nowadays we explain that the name stems from retailers using the day’s huge receipts as their opportunity to “get in the black” and become profitable for the year. The first recorded uses of the term “Black Friday” are a bit less rosy though. According to researchers, the name “Black Friday” dates back to Philadelphia in the mid-1960s. The Friday in question sits between Thanksgiving and the traditional Army-Navy football game that’s played in Philadelphia on the following Saturday, so although this period was good for retailers, they were a huge pain for police officers, cab drivers and anyone who had to negotiate the city’s streets and they called it “Black Friday” to reflect how irritating it was.

Some people think that the day may have something to do with Santa Claus parades, which are typically scheduled on Thanksgiving Day. The appearance of Santa Claus at the end of these parades is a suggestion to shoppers that it is time to hit the stores. It is also quite likely that many parade-goers go straight to the stores after viewing the parades (and continue to do so today), since many retail shops are located along the streets that the parades routes go down.

According to another theory, the term “Black Friday” was coined by factory supervisors who noticed that their employees called in sick in droves. The supervisors claimed this supposed sickness was the worst thing to strike since the black plague. Of course, it wasn’t a sickness at all, but simply a lot of employees skipping out of work to get some great discounts on winter merchandise.

When I placed all these theories inside the confused walls of my mind, I gave the premium to the theory of “Profitability” which mentions below:

“When a business is doing poorly and losing money, their books are in the red. When they are doing well and profiting, their books are “in the black.” So the name may refer to the idea of a hugely profitable day for retailers.”

But, hold on! Remember? This day might also be –for some years- one of the most violent days of the year. You will remember that a man in Best Buy assaulted a fellow customer in 2006. Two years later in 2008, a video was posted showing shoppers outside of a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York. Shoppers trampled a 34-year-old employee to death in their desperation to get into the store when the doors were opened that morning.

Also, in 2010 a woman shopping at Toys ‘R’ Us threatened to shoot other customers with a gun. A volunteer at Toys for Tots the same year was stabbed by a thief robbing the store. A number of other assaults and threats were reported that same year. A man in Buffalo, New York, was trampled by a stampede of shoppers at the door of a Target. New York buyers are apparently winning the crazy shopper contest! One year later, a California woman at a Walmart used pepper spray on other shoppers while attempting to get a discounted Xbox 360.

Anyway, all in all, Black Fridays are mostly fun to me. Hopefully this tradition will live on and I wish you all the Happiest Ever Holiday Season!