Where Did The Term Black Friday Come From?
Some believe the term was coined in the 1960s when Philadelphia public transportation drivers and police officers used it to describe the nightmarish traffic that would snarl city streets the day after Thanksgiving as people began their holiday shopping.
But by the 1980s, the term came to mean something different entirely—about businesses turning a profit.
In the old days, accountants entered negative balances (losses) into ledgers using a red pen. Any positive balances (gains) were written in black. Once all the receipts were tallied, and the business started seeing revenue for the year, they’re said to be “in the black.”
Black Friday is clearly an important day for most brick-and-mortar businesses. A big retail push before the end of the year is the boon retailers need. Because the holidays are a time when people spend more money than at any other time of the year, a so-so year profit-wise could easily be turned around on Black Friday. Consumers are lured into stores with coupons, steep discounts (real or imagined), and time and quantity limits on must-have products—all to encourage people to shop ’til they drop.
Some stores even open their doors at midnight Thanksgiving night. But as we know, these marketing tactics come with a price: Black Friday has become more synonymous with flaring tempers and fistfights than holiday cheer. Despite the chaos, the financial experts predict that Black Friday sales will top last year’s.