With Black Friday just around the corner, most of us are dying to get our hands on those exclusive discounts on tech, fashion and home accessories! In the US, Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving when retailers both online and in stores offer amazing savings. Black Friday has become synonymous with deals and discounts but do you have any idea of how it all got started? It might surprise you to know that the original Black Friday was actually the day the stock market crashed!
Check out our quick history of Black Friday below to learn all about how the thriftiest day of the year got started!.
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The Original Black Friday
Long before shopping sprees that now define this holiday, Black Friday had a much darker history. The original Black Friday was the day that the stock market crashed on September 24, 1869. After a long period of financial speculation, the price of gold plummeted and set off a chain of events that would lead to a number of financial problems for the United States. It took years for the US to recover from this financial tragedy. To this day, dips in the stock market are referred to as “black days”.
Black Friday and Retail Spending
So how did the name “Black Friday” come to be known as the day after Thanksgiving? The truth is, that nobody knows for sure but there are some good theories out there!
The first is that the “black” in Black Friday refers to the bookkeeping practice of writing profits in black and losses in red. Since many workers received the Friday after Thanksgiving as a holiday, they would spend the day shopping with their families. This resulted in retailers seeing their books go from red to “black!”
Despite the name Black Friday now being well-recognized globally, this wasn’t always the case. Evidence seems to suggest that the term Black Friday actually developed in Philadelphia in the 1950s.
The Philadelphia Police Department used the term to describe the awful traffic and over-crowded sidewalks they faced as people headed out after Thanksgiving to start their holiday shopping. In fact, the first mention of the term Black Friday first appeared in 1966 in the magazine, The American Philatelist.
Not surprisingly, retail workers weren’t fans of the day either and likely helped the term spread. Many workers called in sick during the Friday after Thanksgiving to extend their holidays leaving the remaining understaffed workers to deal with the long lines and big crowds.
The term was popular in Philadelphia but it soon spread to the neighbouring towns and eventually even other states. By the 1990s the term had gained national popularity and was even used in television and print advertisements.
Black Friday Today
The original “best shopping day of the year” used to be the Saturday before Christmas as hectic parents and forgetful partners rushed around trying to find the perfect last-minute gifts. But by the 2000s, Black Friday discounts were getting bigger and bigger then even as shops tried to outdo themselves. Today Black Friday has become a lengthy week-long event followed by Cyber Monday, which is also getting lengthened into “Cyber Week”.