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

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

Just Posted

Summerland Steam earn one win, one loss in hockey action

Junior B team in third place in division

Pioneer families lived in Summerland’s Prairie Valley area

Darke and Dale families played roles in community’s early history

Help sought in developing family practices in South Okanagan and Similkameen

An estimated 15,000 people in region do not have a family doctor

Peachland looks to hire climate action coordinator

Coordinator would help city reach its carbon reduction goals

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Coastal GasLink stresses pipeline ‘on a schedule’ as B.C. appoints liaison for Wet’suwet’en

670-kilometre pipeline is schedule to be completed by end of 2023

North Okanagan parent sounds alarm over ketamine and pill parties

RCMP have been notified and are investigating

Penticton woman wins $500,000 lotto prize

Anna Fodor collected $500,000 with her winning ticket

Furstenau flays NDP as she launches B.C. Green Party leadership bid

LNG, Site C dam wrong for environment, Cowichan MLA says

Fire burns through unit at Penticton motel

Quick response from the Penticton Fire Department caught the blaze before it could spread

Vernon and Kelowna build excellence at Okanagan Housing Awards

Sunterra a five-time winner while Weninger Construction and Design wins Home of the Year

Woman guilty of dangerous driving crash that left Saanich girl, then 11, unresponsive

Nikirk guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Alleged Penticton shooter, John Brittain, appears in court to set trial date

Brittain waived his right to a preliminary hearing and opted to proceed straight to trial

Most Read