How Did Black Friday Get Its Name? The Story Behind The Big Shopping Event
Black Friday: the term has become a worldwide terminology associated with crazy sales given by both walk-in and online stores. Some stores have even given the shopping event its own name, for example, Konga.com, which named their black Friday sales Yakata.
But has black Friday always been associated with discounted shopping?
The first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied not to shopping but to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market as far back as September 24, 1869.
Records have it that two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits. On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.
By the late 1980s, retailers found a way to turn “Black Friday” around and consumers no longer thought of the day as something negative.
The most recent repeated story behind the post-Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday tradition links it to retailers.
As the story goes, after an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise.
Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday’s origin is the most accepted in the retail world.
The result was the “red to black” concept of the holiday mentioned earlier, and the notion that the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America’s stores finally turned a profit. (In fact, stores traditionally see bigger sales on the Saturday before Christmas.)
This version of the Black Friday story stuck, since then, the one-day sales bonanza has become a household event.
Although “Black Friday” is known as a time where retailers experience major profits, the Saturday before Christmas is reportedly the most profitable time for stores. Nonetheless, every year on the day after Thanksgiving, consumers converge on stores trying to find the best deals.