The Origin of Black Friday You Probably Should Know About to Sound Smarter

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Black Friday started in the US and is the day after Thanksgiving where people wake up extra early and queue outside their favourite stores because shop owners will give really amazing discounts on this day.

It’s spread to the rest of the world, and even here in Singapore, stores both online and offline are giving huge discount bundles that have driven Singaporean shoppers into a fervour.

In 2020, it falls on 27 November 2019, so prepare your wallet for it, my friend.

But have you ever wondered what the true story behind Black is Friday?

I mean, given the great deals offered by stores on that day, it makes little sense that such an awesome day would be given a name with such negative connotations, right?

Well, the story goes that when businesses are not making any profit, they’re in the red while any profit earned will place them in the black which means they’re earning money.

The story goes that for the first three quarters of the year, stores typically do not earn enough and are usually in the red but on the day after Thanksgiving, people wake up and proceeded to do their Christmas shopping with the stores, bringing them business and allowing them to earn enough to make a profit.

And hence, the term, “Black Friday” was coined simply because it’s the day most stores turn from being in the red to be in the black.

That’s the most common version of the story, but there’s another story that’s, well, not so rosy.

It was said that the term has its roots in the slavery trade, where on that day, slavers buy their slaves at a discount, hence the term. Following the spread of this story, there have been calls for this day to be abolished. Thankfully, this story was proven false after.

Now, we get to the real recorded story behind Black Friday.

This term was first coined in Philadelphia in the 1940s by the police to describe the chaos that took place on that day, with tourists and shoppers flooding the city to catch the big Army-Navy football game held on Saturday annually.

Police officers on that day were not able to take the day off.

In fact, they had to take extra-long shifts as shoplifters and looters took the opportunity to make off with some merchandise and other people getting up to mischief.

To say the entire city is in chaos would be an understatement, and it’s no wonder the police hated that day so much.

It was only in the 1980s that retailers came up with the story about shops turning in profit (red to black) that they were able to remove the negative connotation of the day.


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Since then, Black Friday has turned into a 4-day event, spanning from Friday all the way to Monday, which is incidentally named “Cyber Monday” on account of all the online deals being offered on that day.

So now that you know what’s the deal with Black Friday, don’t forget to keep out for the amazing deals on Cyber Monday!

Featured Image: PopTika / Shutterstock.com