Ever Wondered Where the Term “Black Friday” Came From?

Though most shoppers probably don’t stop to consider the reason why we call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday,” still, many have what it means, and where it came from.

The most popular explanation is that the day’s sales are so large, it can singlehandedly push a retailer from being “in the red,” or losing cash, into “the black,” or even solvency.

That justification first appeared in 1981, according to Snopes, but that’s apparently years after the Philadelphia police had already coined the term “Black Friday.” Based on a 1994 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that was composed by one of the colleagues who promises to have popularized the word, “Black Friday” was actually coined in the 1960s.

Black Friday has long been considered the start of the holiday season, and some companies and several colleges would be closed the day after, because Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday.

Shops, however, weren’t closed, resulting in a spike in traffic and crowds in Philadelphia’s Center City. Police officers in the city began calling the day Black Friday, since they needed to work 12-hour shifts to mitigate the insanity. From that point, the media got a hold of it, and the title was popularized.

The nickname was coined regardless of the fact that PR firms hired by department stores tried to change the title to “Large Friday” in the 1960s. Needless to say, it did not work, and Black Friday spread across the united states, morphing into the monument to vacation shopping we know.


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