This weekend I went to Buffalo, New York for Black Friday shopping. I went to a few malls. Walden Galleria was one of the main malls though and some deals were better than others but in the end I finished most of my Christmas shopping and got some good deals. It made me wonder what the origins of Black Friday were.
Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
The term “Black Friday” was used in many other contexts but the first one referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving was in 1996:
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.
This context describes Black Friday in a very negative way but there is actually a more positive side of Black Friday. This is the day that many businesses start making profit and are “in the black”. Here are a few quotes that use this “black-ink” theory:
If the day is the year’s biggest for retailers, why is it called Black Friday? Because it is a day retailers make profits — black ink, said Grace McFeeley of Cherry Hill Mall. “I think it came from the media,” said William Timmons of Strawbridge & Clothier. “It’s the employees, we’re the ones who call it Black Friday,” said Belle Stephens of Moorestown Mall. “We work extra hard. It’s a long hard day for the employees.”
I really had no idea what the idea of Black Friday was before this. It is unfortunate that every year there are some injuries and sometimes even fatal injuries that occur. It’s a little but scary but it’s nice to know that businesses start making profits at some point in the year.