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)

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

Holidays

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

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read