what is the origin of "black friday"?

why are days like the day after thanksgiving day considered "black"? does it have something to do with the stampede of people who go shopping for those low price gifts? what is the origin of black (sale) days?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    BLACK FRIDAY (SHOPPING) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_Sale

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Many consider it the "official" beginning to the holiday season. Most retailers will open very early and usually provide massive discounts on their products.

    Although Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of customer traffic, it is not typically the day with the highest sales volume. That is usually either Christmas Eve or the last Saturday before Christmas.


    The first use of this term to describe the day after Thanksgiving is not exactly known. There are two popular theories as to its origin.

    Accounting practice

    One theory is that stores traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season. When this would be recorded in the financial records, common accounting practices use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink would show positive amounts. Black Friday is the beginning of the period where they would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black).

    Stress from large crowds

    Another theory comes from the fact that shopping experience on this day can be extremely stressful. The term is used as a comparison to the extremely stressful and chaotic experience of Black Thursday or other black days. According to The Word Spy:

    Earliest Citation:

    Christmas decorations around Tampa Bay started going up in late October, and business has been brisk since then. And while Friday--known as Black Friday for the legendary hordes--will be the biggest shopping day for many area stores, others ring up the greatest sales the Saturday before Christmas.

    —Marilyn Marks, "Retailers expect good sales this Christmas," St. Petersburg Times, November 27, 1986

    There exists an earlier reference, speaking to the Friday after Thanksgiving:


    There have been many Black Fridays in recent history. Most of them have been days of financial panic. There has been none of blacker foreboding than last Friday. And the blackness is not loss or fear of loss in stocks and bonds.

    New York Times (1857-Current file).

    New York, N.Y.: Dec 3, 1922. pg. 38, 1 pgs

    ISSN/ISBN 03624331

    Employees of retail stores have for years referred to Black Friday in a satirical way, to note the extremely stressful and hectic nature of the day. Heavy traffic and customer demands added to the long hours make it a difficult day.

    Black Friday on the Internet

    Advertisements in advance

    Certain websites such as DealTaker.com offer information about Black Friday deals up to a month in advance. The text listings of prices are usually accompanied by adscans -- complete PDFs either leaked by insiders, or intentionally released by large retailers to give consumers insight and allow them time to plan.

    Cyber Monday

    The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, which unofficially marks the beginning of the holiday online shopping season.

    In recent years, Cyber Monday has become a busy day for online retailers, with some sites offering low prices and other promotions on that day.


    Response (Buy Nothing Day)

    Anti-consumer frenzy protesters have chosen this day as Buy Nothing Day in North America, where those concerned about the increasing power and influence of consumer corporations are urged to not make consumer purchases.


    In recent years, some retailers (including Wal-Mart, Target Corporation, Best Buy, and Staples, Inc.) have claimed that the advertisements they send in advance of Black Friday and the prices included in those advertisement are intellectual property and protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

    Using the take down provision of the DMCA, these retailers have threatened various internet web sites who post Black Friday prices to the internet in advance of the intended release date by the retailers. This policy apparently derives from a fear that competitors, in addition to customers, will also have access to this information and use it for competitive advantage. The actual validity of the claim that prices are protected intellectual property is uncertain as prices might be considered a 'fact' in which case they would not receive the same level of protection as pure intellectual property.

    The benefit of threatening internet sites with a DMCA based lawsuit has proved tenuous at best. While some sites have complied with the requests, others have either ignored the threats or simply continued to post the information under the name of a similar sounding fictional retailer.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Accountants use RED ink for negative figures when keeping books. They use BLACK ink to show a profit.

    It is said that retailers are "in the RED" until the day after Thanksgiving.

    It is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season that moves them into the BLACK. Hence "Black Friday"

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  • 1 decade ago

    It's a retail term, mostly. People who have the Friday off after Thanksgiving, make fools of themselves rushing to buy stuff that was overpriced before the sale, and is still overpriced now, and would be overpriced if they were giving it away. The people who work in retail but don't own the place, make squat usually on the day, and it is terribly hard on them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The first recorded incident relating to Friday the 13th refers to the massacre of the Knights Templar on Friday October 13, 1307. Forces of Philip IV of France were instructed to open letters that morning, which the pope had sent him, giving them orders to seek out and arrest all known members of the Knights, slaughter those that resisted, and capture Jacques DeMolay, the last known Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

    Another possible origin relates to the Last Supper. Judas, the thirteenth guest, was instrumental in the Crucifixion of Jesus, which is believed to have happened on a Friday. Other theories offered suggest that Eve offered the apple to Adam on a Friday or the slaying of Abel happened on a Friday so to sum up black friday is a bad luck day

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  • 1 decade ago

    I believe the origin of black friday had something to do with the stock market crash before the great depression. I know that black Tuesday was the day it actually crashed, but there was a black friday in there somewhere. I never heard of the day after Thanksgiving as "black" so you got me.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Its typically the day when retailers go from being in the red to in the black, in terms of how much money they have made for the year.

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  • Sarah*
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I think it does because of all the people.

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