The Real Reason Why It’s Called ‘Black Friday’

Oh, Black Friday; the day after Thanksgiving where millions open their wallets and rush to the stores to get those juicy deals. A day so huge, almost 70% of Americans will turn themselves into shoppers and spent over $3 billion.

But have you ever wondered why Black Friday is called ‘Black Friday’?

Let’s find out. (the article continues after the ad)

When the word “black” is used in front of a day, it’s usually not for good. For example, Black Monday refers to the stock market crash of 1987. Black Tuesday was the day we experienced the most devastating market crash of 1929. Black Wednesday of 1992 was the day the British government was forced to withdraw the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Black Thursday has been used to describe various bombings, catastrophic fires and athletic defeats.

Black Friday is no exception. Even though Black Friday is today associated with the joy of shopping, it wasn’t always that way.

According to Ben Zimmer, the executive producer of who extensively researched on the subject, the term originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s. Because people rushed on to the stores and created heavy traffic and other miseries, the local police and the bus drivers started calling the day ‘Black Friday’.

Business however, didn’t like this negative tone. So, in the early 1980s they tried to pass on a more positive explanation for the name. According to this alternative explanation, Black Friday was called ‘Black Friday’ because is the day retailers finally started to turn a profit. Their version of the story is based on the fact that accountants use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink when showing positive amounts.

This rebranding has been so successful that others tried to apply the same strategy on other days of the week. For instance, in 2005, ‘Cyber Monday’ was born by online retailers. In 2010, American Express introduced the ‘Small Business Saturday’ in an effort to have people spent money (presumably with their American Express cards) at local businesses. However, none of these really catch up and they’re nowhere near Black Friday.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: What Did The Pilgrims Eat On Thanksgiving And 7 More Fascinating Facts About Thanksgiving      

Photo: Diariocritico de Venezuela / Flickr
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Why is ‘Black Friday’ Called ‘Black Friday’? | Why Is It Called “Black Friday”? | Black Friday: Shopping by the numbers | Black Friday: By The Numbers

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