The Dark Origins Of Black Friday
There’s no American that doesn’t know what happens on Black Friday every year, the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the day when stores across America compete to bring shoppers in to spend all their holiday money by offering the lowest possible prices on everything.
But if you were to ask an American where the term comes from? You’re likely to find many who have absolutely no idea. You”ll get no shortage of confused looks, or at the very least some very conflicting explanations from each person.
There are some people that believe the name started out in the 1960s in Philadelphia and was coined due to the amount of people and traffic out on this day to shop. A 1966 magazine advertisement in fact credited the Philadelphia Police for coming up with the term.
Retailers were less than pleased with the negative connotation about their big day. A campaign tried to change the name to Big Friday, but failed. Retailers then began to refer to the day as the tipping point in store balance sheets. The positive understanding of the term is the one that stuck.
The term is also related to the market disruptions, such as the 1869 price of gold drop, as well as Black Thursday, which was the catalyst to the Great Depression and 1929 market crash.
Another belief is that it’s called Black Friday since it’s a day when workers would call in sick the day after Thanksgiving, to have a longer weekend with their families. The most haunting rumor however is that it originated in the south, where it was common to sell slaves on this day.
Whatever the true origin of the name may be, Black Friday is not all about shopping and holiday spirit.