Where Did Black Friday Start Originally?
Where did Black Friday start being referred to as the time where people form lines blocks long to wait for major sales to hit the day after Thanksgiving? Usually, the items are the hottest holiday toys or gadgets for the year and spectacular deals on these must-haves are available only on that one special shopping day, the Friday after Thanksgiving.
How did the day start?
The history is traced back to the 1800s. This is when it is believed that the owners of Southern plantations could buy slaves at a cheaper price the day after Thanksgiving. That is not exactly the case. There was a financial crisis on the stock market in 1869, however, that was nicknamed Black Friday.
This may be closer to the origination of the term, but the name is more akin to an accounting term used to specify when a business has gone from a negative balance in revenue to a positive one. Instead of being “in the red” or negative, a business is put “in the black” when it makes a profit.
In the 1950s, Philadelphia police used the term for the day after Thanksgiving when tons of people would flock the city to shop in anticipation of the big Army Navy football game held the following Saturday. The cops could not take this day off as a holiday so they would put in extra hours to oversee the shopping madness that took place.
And madness did take place. People often took advantage of the huge crowds and the chaos to do a little shoplifting. The cops had to work extra hard to bring these crimes under control. The day became so renown in the area that it got the nickname of Black Friday. This is the first time it was used to describe anything having to do with crowds and shopping.
But, the city of Philadelphia did not like being the patron city of shoplifting. It soon began calling the day Big Friday to eliminate any negativity associated with the pre-game excitement.
It was not until the 1980s that the name of Black Friday resurfaced. The concept of an accountant using red versus black ink to indicate profits was reintroduced by retailers all around the country. The name stuck and so the answer to where did Black Friday start can be answered as the day after Thanksgiving when American stores turn a profit.