Why is It Called Black Friday?

black-fridayAnyone studying the history of Black Friday will likely come across many theories explaining the name. The prevailing opinion is that it came into use during 1966 to describe the traffic it causes.

What Happens on the Day

This particular Friday is the one right after Thanksgiving in the US. This day has come to be known as the start of the holiday shopping rush. Depending on when Thanksgiving takes place, this would be on the 29th or 23rd of November.

On this day, stores both big and small offer large discounts. All major appliances, gadgets, toys etc. are sold at lowered prices. As such people come in droves, often lining up in the wee hours of the morning. The history of Black Friday will show that it isn’t an official holiday. While it isn’t, companies almost always let their people get off work early. Some even allow them to take leave.

The scenes are usually one of frantic buying, some pushing and shoving. As soon as the stores open, there is a rush to get in. Among the most popular items for sale are notebook computers, cell phones and home entertainment systems.

Where the Term Originated

As stated, the term is said to have been first used in 1966. One account has it that phrase was used by the cops. They were describing the traffic jams and the large crowds. Thus, the history of Black Friday and the term itself reflected the cops’ extra work.

However some claim that the term originated in newspaper accounts.
The term was supposedly coined by a journalist in describing the scenes in stores.

But one thing needs to be emphasized: the practice had commenced much earlier. There are records from 1924 confirming this. Back then, shoppers already used the Friday after Thanksgiving as the beginning of their holiday shopping spree.

Making a Profit

News media is now using the term in a different way. It is utilized to illustrate the profit that stores make. The history of Black Friday has shown the following fact: in spite of the giant sales, the stores make most of their money during this period.

The volume they sell outweighs the reduction in prices. Hence the store owners get in the black. This modern usage has gained widespread acceptance.

Other Facts

Based on some accounts, the practice of shopping on Friday after Thanksgiving had to do with old Christmas traditions. There was this belief that the period marked the arrival of Santa Claus. This meant the season of gift giving had begun. So people started shopping.

Aside from this Friday, Cyber Monday has become a popular shopping period too. It is the Monday immediately after Black Friday. As the name suggests, the shopping here is conducted online. Because of its convenience, more and more people are now shopping via the Web.

Whatever the origin and history of Black Friday may be, it’s a tradition that will likely continue on. While it can be frenzied, it has become part and parcel of the Yuletide season in America.

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