How the Friday After Thanksgiving Came to
Be Known as “Black Friday”
The term “Black Friday” wasn’t coined to describe the day after Thanksgiving until the mid 1960s. Even then, it wasn’t a popular term nationally until around the last twenty years.
In the 1980s, retailers, unhappy with the negative connotations of what appears to be the real origin of the term (see below), decided to start pushing that the actual origin was that most retailers operated in a financial loss for most of the year and Black Friday was named such because it was the day of the year when the retailers would finally see a profit, moving out of the red and into the black. This of course, simply isn’t true. While there are some retailers that depend on the Christmas season’s profits to make a profit for the year, most retailers see profits every quarter based on the quarterly SEC filings of those major retailers. There are also no references to this potential origin predating around the 1980s and there are numerous references to the following theory of the origin of the term “Black Friday” before that time.
The most likely origin, which is reasonably well documented, is from Philadelphia police officers, bus drivers, and taxi cab drivers who dreaded the day after Thanksgiving due to the traffic problems from the massive amount of people out and about.The earliest documented reference to this was in January 1966, written by Bonnie Taylor-Black of the American Dialect Society: “‘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.” Over the next decade, more and more references can be found in various newspaper archives, primarily in the New England area, of this particular Friday being called “Black Friday” for this reason. --http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/11/black-friday-history-myths-and-facts/
Here are some other interesting facts I found off the internet.
1. 140 Million Estimated number of consumers who will shop in stores or online this weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, roughly the same as the expectations leading into the 2013 Thanksgiving-Black Friday period.--https://time.com/money/3605642/thanksgiving-black-friday-sales-facts/
2. Less Than 5% The average discount on Black Friday for 6,000 items tracked last year by the deal-hunting siteShopAdvisor; researchers found that the average discount during the holiday period was highest on December 18 (17.5%).--https://time.com/money/3605642/thanksgiving-black-friday-sales-facts/
3. Myth: Black Friday Sales Begin on Black Friday
There's no stopping the holiday creep and this year we expect the majority of Black Friday sales to commence on Thanksgiving Day, if not earlier. In fact, there's a good chance that you'll see more Editors' Choice deals on Thanksgiving Day than on Black Friday, and some of the best deals might even sell out before Friday. Moreover, this year there are only 26 days (three full weekends) between Black Friday and Christmas, so we expect to see retailers releasing Black Friday sales as early as two weeks before the namesake day. Other retailers may start teasing their sales come late October.--http://dealnews.com/features/The-Facts-Behind-Black-Friday-Myths/
Black Friday may get all the attention, but last year Cyber Monday managed to trump Black Friday in terms volume of Editors' Choice deals, which is our designation for the best sales of the year with price lows never before seen. And it was precisely those types of deals that flooded our homepage last Cyber Monday. So shoppers take note: Cyber Monday is no longer a holiday you can afford to skip. (To find out what deals are the best on Cyber Monday, click here).--http://dealnews.com/features/The-Facts-Behind- Black-Friday-Myths/
5. MYTH: If You Go Overboard on Black Friday, You Can Return Your Purchases
tend to tighten their return policies during the holidays, making it
hard for consumers to return items. Some retailers will go so far as
only offering store credit on returns, even if you have a receipt. A
handful of stores are also keeping
track of serial returners
and banning them. And if you don't remember to ask for a gift
receipt, your recipients might be doubly unhappy: they'll likely
receive a store credit for only a portion of the purchase price.--http://dealnews.com/features/The-Facts-Behind-Black-Friday-Myths/
6. Black Friday is not the biggest shopping day of the year. The Saturday before Christmas is almost always the biggest shoppong day of the year.--http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/11/black-friday-history-myths-and-facts/
7. 55% of Americans plan not to shop at all on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. --http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/11/19/how-black-friday-will-be-different-this-year-5-predictions/
8. Thanksgiving will continue to be a big shopping day.
In 2012, Thanksgiving Day sales represented 3.6% of holiday weekend sales; last year, the figure jumped to 11.6%, according to ShopperTrak.
9. In 2011, 226 million Americans purchased $52 billion worth of merchandise throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. For that amount of money, 104 million families in need could have had their lives transformed by the gift of a dairy cow from Heifer International.--http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/10-freaky-facts-about-black-friday
10. Some people have been camping out at a California Best Buy since Nov 12.--http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/10-freaky-facts-about-black-fridayIf you're one of those Black Friday shoppers, I wish you lots of luck on getting the deals you want. If you're one of those 55% Americans that don't shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, I still hope you get plenty of good deals on all of your holiday gifts no matter when you shop.