Black Friday is on its way! Which means we’ll be hearing about all of the stories of people going crazy for a good deal. It almost seems as if each Black Friday is bigger and better than the year before. But where exactly did Black Friday come from?
Many people believe a myth about the origin of Black Friday. The idea is that “retailers used to record their losses in red ink and profits in black.” Many retailers had losses leading up to Thanksgiving, but on the first day of the Christmas season, they started tracking profits, meaning that black ink was used more starting on that day.
While this does make sense, considering the hordes of people who are out shopping on the day, it’s a misconception. The name of the day came before the amazing deals that we see.
The name “Black Friday” actually has nothing at all to do with shopping or the great deals we see. In the 1950s, police in Philadelphia first used the term to describe the chaos in the streets of the city the day after Thanksgiving.
The reason for the chaos in Philadelphia? A football game.
Apparently, the Army-Navy football game took place the Saturday after Thanksgiving for many years in the 1950s. The day after Thanksgiving, many tourists would flood the streets to pass the time before the game.
In addition to the masses of shoppers, shoplifters began to take advantage of the large crowds by targeting stores. Many of the Philadelphia police would have to work extra long shifts on “Black Friday” to try to keep the peace.
After years of mayhem, retailers in the Philadelphia area began to take advantage of the mayhem. They tried to change the name “Black Friday” to “Big Friday” to remove some of the negative connotations. That was unsuccessful, so retailers started offering sales on the day.
Black Friday has now spread across the United States. The original meaning of the name has been almost lost entirely. Regardless of how it started, Black Friday will continue to offer some of the best deals of the season for Christmas shoppers.
Many stores have even started opening their doors for Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day itself. Some stores, though, have committed to staying closed on that day. Read the full list here.