why do they call it black friday after thanksgiving

Why Do We Call It БBlack FridayБ? A Black Friday promotion at an H M store in Tyler, Texas. The term didnБt always denote commercial excess. Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph, via Associated Press
The word БblackБ in front of a day of the week has almost never meant anything good. was the sell-off the day before the stock market crash of 1929, as well as the day of an even bigger crash in 1987. Black Wednesday was used to refer to a day of widespread air traffic snarls in 1954, as well as the day the British government was forced to withdraw a battered pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992. Black Thursday has variously been used to describe days of devastating brush fires, bombings and athletic defeats, among other unpleasantness. So how is it that the term Black Friday has come almost universally to denote joyous commercial excess, stupendous deals and big profits on the day when people head out to shop for the holidays after Thanksgiving? It wasnБt always this way. The New York Times first used the term to refer to the day the gold market collapsed the year before. Ben Zimmer, executive producer of, who has researched and written about the term, says its association with shopping the day after Thanksgiving began in Philadelphia in the 1960s Б and even then, the reference wasnБt positive.


The local police took to calling the day Black Friday because they had to deal with bad traffic and other miseries connected to the throngs of shoppers heading for the stores. Needless to say, that usage didnБt sit well with local retailers. They tried, according to Mr. Zimmer, to give the day a more positive name: Big Friday. That did not take, but eventually retailers Б in Philadelphia and beyond Б managed to spin a new connotation: The day the books went from red ink to black. Most consumers probably donБt know Б and donБt care Б about any of this. They want deals. The rebranding of Black Friday has been so successful that others have tried to spread the wealth across multiple days of the week as the holiday shopping season has grown ever more competitive. In 2005, was introduced as the day online retailers offered big savings to holiday shoppers. In 2010, American Express came up with to encourage people to shop (presumably with their Amex cards) at independent local businesses the day after Black Friday. And as retailers begin their holiday promotions earlier and earlier, there have even been efforts to change the name of the day before Black Friday to Gray, Brown or Black Thursday.


But for most Americans, it will forever be. Get politics updates directly to your inbox In a few short years has snowballed into one of the nation's biggest sales bonanzas of the year. If last year is anything to go by, crazed shoppers will trading in long queues and scraps over cut price TVs and toys, in favor of browsing online from home during the early hours to snap up a bargain. In the US, Black Friday is the day after, when turkey-stuffed customers take advantage of the holiday to do some some shopping. Thanks to American retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart owned Asda, the shopping-fest has now spread across the pond - and. But why do we call this pre-Christmas scramble for bargains Black Friday? The PR stunt In the 1980s, the term БBlack FridayБ began to be used by retailers to refer to the single day of the year when retail companies finally go Бinto the blackБ (make a profit) after being in the red for much of the year. But that's not the only theory behind the name. Rumours have also circulated that the term came from an invented tradition to sell slaves the day after Thanksgiving, while others think its original could be much more recent. According to Joseph P. Barrett, who was police reporter for the Philadelphia Bulletin, the term Black Friday came out of the old Philadelphia Police Department's traffic squad.


In an article from, the late journalist wrote that the cops used the term to describe the horrible traffic jams that happened when people poured into town on the Friday after Thanksgiving. He wrote: It was the day that Santa Claus took his chair in the department stores and every kid in the city wanted to see him. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Schools were closed. Late in the day, out-of-town visitors began arriving for the Army-Navy football game. Every 'Black Friday', no traffic policeman was permitted to take the day off. The division was placed on 12 tours of duty, and even the police band was ordered to Center City. Today the term seems lost in antiquity, but it was a traffic cop who started it, the guy who directed traffic with a semaphore while standing on a small wooden platform, in the days before traffic lights. In the early 1960s, Barrett put together a front-page story for Thanksgiving and appropriated the police term Black Friday to describe the terrible traffic conditions. The name stuck and began spreading across the US, and then the globe.


Black Friday has also been used historically to refer to any awful event that happens on that day. The first recorded use of Black Friday was applied not to holiday shopping but to the crash of the U. S. gold market on September 24, 1869, caused by two unscrupulous criminals. Two ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nationБs gold, to drive the price sky-high and sell it for huge profits. But on that Friday, the conspiracy collapsed and the market went into free fall and bankrupted everyone from Wall Street bankers to farmers. Another Black Friday, January 31 1919, refers to the Battle of George Square in Glasgow - one of the most intense riots in the city's history. The dispute revolved around a campaign for shorter working hours, backed by widespread. Dozens were injured, and as a result the working day was shortened. It has also been used to refer to bad days of battle in the Second World War, devastating Australian bush fires and a peaceful protest in, the capital of the, which saw police firing teargas on protestors. More famously, it was the day in when hundreds of suffragettes marched on Parliament in peaceful protest and were assaulted and arrested by police.

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