Black Friday History

Black Friday History is a complex matter that can be approached from more than one angle.

At the same time, this famous shopping day is a consequence of a consumeristic psychological phenomenon, the crash of the U.S. gold market, (in)famous football game, dead traffic, Thanksgiving day and harvest festival (Thanksgiving origin event) practiced all around the world for many millenniums.

The First Use of the Term Black Friday

gold selling table

The first recorded usage of term black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869. That is the day that brought the crash of the U.S. gold market. A pair of Wall Street sharks well known for their ruthlessness conspired to buy as much of the nation’s gold as they could. The plan was to drive the price to the sky and sell. On that Friday in September conspiracy was unrevealed and the stock market went into free fall.

Black Friday as an attachment to the Thanksgiving day

Black Friday is an unofficial term used for naming Friday following the Thanksgiving day which takes place on a fourth Thursday in every November. Considering that fact its origins are tightly bonded to the history of the Thanksgiving. Since 1952 the BF day is considered to be the official opening of America Christmas holiday shopping season. Yet the wide use of the famous term came to life just a few decades ago. Unlike Thanksgiving which became a federal holiday in 1863, during the civil war, Black Friday is not a formal holiday but in some countries like California, state government employees have a day off. Nevertheless, it is used as a unique opportunity to commercialize love that takes place the day before and opens the door of sales madness for consumers.

Army vs Navy football game

armm vs navy footbal game

The occurrence of this famous event that took place the day after Thanksgiving attracted a lot of people into the city of Philadelphia. Hordes of shoppers and tourists would flood the city in advance of the football game. Every year the crowd would give a hard time to the city police. Fights, shopliftings, overdrinking, bedlam in stores, stampedes and the other forms of risky behaviors made the law enforcement officers work double shifts and in addition to all deal with traffic jams and accidents. Because of this, the policemen made up a name for the infamous day – Black Friday.

Colors for sales marking

This story links Black Friday origins to retailers and the way of marking profits. For losses, they used red color and for-profit black. All the year everything was red and on the sales day, after Thanksgiving because of the incredible discounts shops would go black. And this is why retailers called it Black Friday.

The Black Myth

Black Friday Slave Selling

There are stories that the real origins of the greatest shopping day are related to the selling of slaves.

Allegedly, on the day after Thanksgiving plantation owners were given the opportunity to buy slaves at incredible discounts. It is even said that if more than 10 slaves would be purchased, there would be a thing called virgin bonus meaning that a young girl would be added to a bought group for free. These assertions usually come up around Thanksgiving leading some people to boycott both holiday and shopping day. However, these claims are not supported by historical facts. The first occurrence of the term was caused by the crash of the USA gold market, and later it was used as a name for the day on which the famous football game took place.

Interesting facts

There are many “claim to be the fact” statements relating to Black Friday that eventually come out to be true. The most astonishing is the one claiming that BF is not the day of the biggest sales in the year. Here are some more interesting facts:

  • The busiest shopping day of the year was Saturday before Christmas until the year 2001. It was then when Black Friday took the throne of the biggest shopping day for the first time.
  • BF has spread to more than 15 countries all around the world. It even exists in South Africa.
  • The tradition of Black Friday was broken by Walmart by opening up their stores on the evening of Thanksgiving.
  • 12% percent of Black Friday shoppers are drunk according to a survey conducted by coupon site “Retail Me Not”.  
  • The Santa Claus parade was the predecessor to Black Friday.  
  • Plumbers day is what the plumbers call the Black Friday because for them it is the busiest day of the year. CNN reported that plumbers are needed to clean up after guests “cause the overflow inside a system”.
  • Once upon a time, Black Friday was called “Big Friday”. It was a failed attempt of newspaper to commit a substitution of Philadelphia police slang with something nicer.

Deaths and Injuries

Black Friday is well known for its risky atmosphere caused by mass overdrinking and running towards stores with the biggest discounts. Stampedes, fights, shootings, car hits and other similarities are a regular base of the biggest shopping day of the year. At the moment of writing these pieces of information there is even a website that takes records of Black Friday deaths and injuries.

According to up to 2018 there have been 12 deaths and 117 injuries.

The greatest deal ever made on Black Friday

The facts in favor of the truth behind this story are not confirmed. Allegedly, in the capital of South Africa a company selling shark oil had an error in its online selling system. They wanted to set a discount of an additional 10% to already existing 35% together with 60 minute counter until  midnight. Instead of it, every additional second dropped the price down. Minutes before midnight a hundreds of gallons could be bought for few cents. Their loss led them to bankruptcy.

While most of the media negates the story it is not bad for entrepreneurs to have on mind how easy things can flip over in shopping madness.   

Black Friday As An Art Contributor

Considering its multilayer nature this day has served as a muse to many kinds of artists. Painters, writers, musicians, movie producers and other kinds of creators from all around the world have brought into being their view of the greatest shopping day in the history of humanity. On this website you can even find the section – Tales of Black Friday– consisted of tales about both Black Friday History and modern events related to it.