In this Nov. 22, 2018, file photo people wait in line to buy televisions as they shop during an early Black Friday sale at a Best Buy store on Thanksgiving Day in Overland Park, Kan. Black Friday is Nov. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Why is it called ‘Black Friday’ anyway?

The name origins of the infamous shopping day have a darker background

Shoppers get ready – it’s almost the busiest deal-finding day the year: Black Friday.

On Nov. 29, retailers of all stripes offer heavily-discounted sales, with some shops opening up early. While the day is infamous, the origins of its name are less clear.

Many people assume that “Black Friday” comes from retailers making such good sales on the day that they end up “in the black” (as opposed to “in the red”).

In actuality the history is mixed and wholly unpleasant.

The first time Black Friday was used in the press was on Sept. 24, 1869 after the crash of the American gold market. On that day, two Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy as much as they could of the country’s gold in hopes of spiking up the price; consequently the prices crashed, leaving many people bankrupt.

ALSO READ: Victoria businesses band together to make Black Friday more sustainable

It wasn’t until the 1950s, however, that Black Friday came to be associated with the post-American-Thanksgiving period. Around that time in Philadelphia, large crowds of tourists and shoppers came to the city to watch the army-navy football game after Thanksgiving, which created chaos, traffic jams and shoplifting opportunities. Consequently, more police officers were put on shift for long hours and used the term “Black Friday” to describe the day.

Retail sales had also been popular at the time because department stores like Macy’s would print ads surrounding their Thanksgiving Day parade.

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday

Supposedly, some retailers tried to add a positive spin to the time frame, trying to call it “Big Friday” instead, but the term never stuck. By the late 1960s Black Friday was published in local magazines and by the 1980s it was used nation-wide.

The trend began to spread internationally, thanks to big influences from online shopping, and is now recognized around the world.

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

Holidays

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Schools get creative to provide food to students

Initiatives underway include providing gift cards

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Canadians urged to include pets in their COVID-19 emergency plans

That includes plans about who will care for them if the owner is hospitalized

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19 world update: Joy in Wuhan as lockdown lifted; Pope denounces profiteers

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news items from around the world

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Most Read