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.

[email protected]

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

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Nuxalk College undertakes language digitization project

New tapes from over 50 years ago are set to be digitally transcribed

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Bella Coola under another winter storm warning

Freezing rain is expected by this afternoon

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

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read