Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Many regard it as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. While it is not a federal holiday, several states observe the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday, which means many state and school employees have the day off. Therefore, the number of potential shoppers is high.
In fact, since 2005, it has been the busiest shopping day of the year. With retailers extending their hours and deals, the crowds and choas of Black Friday shows no signs of slowing down. Here's a look at the history and evolution of Black Friday.
The term Black Friday was first used in the United States to describe a financial crisis in 1869. On September 24, 1869, James Fish and Jay Gould tried to take over the gold market in the New York Gold Exchange. The first time Black Friday referred to shopping the day after Thanksgiving was in this 1961 Philadelphia public relations newsletter:
For downtown merchants throughout the nation, the biggest shopping days normally are the two following Thanksgiving Day. Resulting traffic jams are an irksome problem to the police and, in Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday. Hardly a stimulus for good business, the problem was discussed by the merchants with their Deputy City Representative, Abe S. Rosen, one of the country's most experienced municipal PR executives. He recommended adoption of a positive approach which would convert Black Friday and Black Saturday to Big Friday and Big Saturday.
The use of the name was gradual, but by 1975, it appeared in The New York Times: Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it Black Friday – that day each year betw...
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...lahssee, Florida. In 2011, a woman used pepper spray on other shoppers, injurying at least 10 people during Black Friday shopping at a Walmart in Porter Ranch, California. That same year, a man in San Leandro, California, was shot leaving a Walmart at 1:45 a.m. after doing some Black Friday.
In 2005, Cyber Monday became a term used to refer to the Monday after Black Friday. The term was based on a trend of the two previous years where retailers noticed that many shoppers, too busy to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, used that Monday to shop online.
With the additions and options of Cyber Monday and Black Thursday, perhaps the crowds and chaos of Black Friday will be more spread out, causing less competition and violence over deals. One thing is for certain, Black Friday continues to be a hugely important and success day for retailers.