Nov 25, 2011

Who Invented Black Friday, Anyway?

by Tanya Parker Mills

And why did they name it "Black" of all things? Is it because they want shoppers to start lining up in the black of night? Is it because it blackens the day after Thanksgiving for those who have retail jobs and want to keep them (particularly in this economy)? Or is it because it creates the kind of blackness or customer frenzy/financial crisis that was originally seen back in 1869?

It turns out (according to Wikipedia, anyway):

"The earliest known reference to 'Black Friday' to refer to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication on the day's significance in Philadelphia: "JANUARY 1966 -- 'Black Friday' is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. 'Black Friday' officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing."

"The derivation is also clear in an Associated Press article entitled 'Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy,' which ran in the Titusville Herald on [November 29, 1975]: "Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. ...'That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,' a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. 'They think in terms of headaches it gives them.'"

So, out of sympathy for those poor retail persons, cops, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and basically all for whom this is a truly BLACK day, I'm staying home...except to see a movie this afternoon.


  1. Amazingly enough, I've practically finished my Christmas shopping already. Although I think I might miss all the hustle and bustle, and elbow knocking of shopping with the masses. I can hear the cheerful Christmas music filling the air right now. Sigh . . . I gotta go! Where's my purse?

  2. I always heard on the news it was called Black Friday because that was the day retailers started running in the black. Up to that point their businesses had been running in the red. Anyway, I stay home. Even our son who used to go every year won't go any more.

  3. Black Friday creates a little drama in the lives of those who don't have enough already. That's not me. Whenever I think of going shopping the day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the internet, which is where I do all my shopping, thank you very much.

  4. Love Black Friday. Wow! What a rush success is when you get the stuff on your list for that smokin' price. Didn't stay up and go at midnight, but was up at 4:30 and home before 8. It's a beautiful things. :-) (Oh, and I believe Donna is right, that's when businesses finally get out of the red and into the black. So if I'm a retailer, bring on Black Friday!)

    OK, I have to confess, I used to really be into the Black Friday thing, but in recent years haven't had enough of an enticement to get up early. This year my sweet husband persuaded me to go and we had a blast together.

  5. Yes, especially to those poor,underpaid workers who had to leave their Thanksgiving celebrations early to be available for people to satisfy their desire for acquiring cheap stuff and to abuse fellow shoppers. Did you hear about that lady who brought pepper spray with her to Walmart . . . and used it? O_o

    I'm sure you can't tell I'm not a fan of this day. =D

  6. I never shop Black Friday- I try to get as much done as possible before the season starts because I like to just enjoy the pretty decorations, the peaceful, cheerful music and being cheerful and friendly- which I am not if I am shopping with others who are out for blood- if they don't get what they came out for. I also am not about to be pushed around by someone who wants my money and says that I can only get a good deal if I get up in the middle of the night to stand in line with psychos with pepper spray- my sleep is worth whatever I might lose in savings!

  7. I stayed home, but I have both really appreciated the great sales either in person or on the internet in past years.

    Appreciate the info about Black Friday.

  8. I have been the recipient of Black Friday purchases, and can type this comment because that's how my kids gifted me with my laptop...but I am not a fan of Black Friday. It goes along with the whole "missing the point" of what Christmas is all about. It creates contention and stress. However, for many friends and family, it is a bonding and fun tradition. People shop for the savings, yes, but also because they have that day off work and they won't really have time otherwise. I'm just glad I can choose to stay home!! hugs~

  9. I love Black Friday but here in AL it's all about a party fun atmosphere. People are friendly, laughing, eating treats and just having fun.

  10. Black Friday came about when the all the stores realized that the day after Thanksgiving --they were in the black financially. I was always told that it was the big wind fall after Thanksgiving that gave it its name.....


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