According to the legend, Black Friday is named because stores reopen on Thanksgiving Day. This allows them to become profitable again and go “into the black”. You may not be aware of a deeper meaning to Black Friday. It is tied to the 1800s gold trade and the exhausted Pennsylvania police force.
Origin of Black Friday
New York was the first place where “Black Friday” was used. It has nothing to do with Christmas shopping. Jay Gould, a vice president of Erie Railroad, and Jim Fisk were two of Wall Street’s most brutal financial wizards. A months-long plot to manipulate the gold market came crashing to an end on Friday, September 24, 1869. Fisk and Gould had been pushing up the price of gold for weeks by buying huge amounts of the precious metal. Then, one day, President Ulysses Grant realized the fraud and flooded the market with gold, causing a massive stock market crash.
Because the US economy felt the effects for many years, this day was known as “Black Friday”. Thousands of speculators were left financially bankrupt, and at least one took his own life. Foreign trade was stopped, and many farmers saw their corn and wheat harvests drop by 50%.
Black Friday’s history as we know it
Black Friday, as it is known, takes place on the Friday following Thanksgiving. It is believed that the event originated in Philadelphia, either in the 1950s or the 1960s. The term was invented by police officers because of the Army/Navy football match, which was played on Saturday after Thanksgiving. This caused the city to flood with tourists. The police officers who had to go to work on Saturday after Thanksgiving was horrified by the traffic jams and overcrowding in retail stores, as well as increased shoplifting.
It was customary at that time to call in sick on the day after Thanksgiving to extend the holiday. This term was used to refer to a pre-Christmas shopping frenzy that occurred in the 1980s.
Retailers tried to make the name more positive and promoted “Big Saturday” for a time to increase public support for the event. However, it didn’t catch on.
One positive connotation remained, however, and we now more often link the shopping bonanza to the “red-to-black” narrative, which connotes retailers’ increased cash flow.
All you need to know About Black Friday.
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A Different Explanation of Black Friday’s Origin
Later, an alternative explanation was presented.
Another explanation is that Black Friday’s name comes from Black Friday’s historical shift to profitability during the holiday season.
In the days before accounting records could be kept manually, red ink was used to indicate financial loss, and black ink for profit. This resulted in the financial terms “in red” (losing money) and “in black” (making profit).
Shoppers and Stores
You can often see shoppers lining up for hours ahead of the opening of stores during this time. Shoppers rush to grab what they need, often at substantial discounts.
Most stores offer special discounts or deals on their products on this day. It is actually the day when stores make their greatest profits.