Why is the Friday after Thanksgiving (in the US) called Black Friday?
Is it because of the crowds that line up to shop for deals? I never understood that term.
Black friday use to have a negative connotation attached to it. In the mid sixties a man named the friday after Thanksgiving "Black Friday" because all the people going out to shop for Christmas would cause a lot of fuss, such things as traffic jams and violent behavior would erupt due to the shopping season getting underway.
Today though it has a much lighter meaning. Retailers see Black Friday as a very profitable day and for a company to see profits it goes in their ledger books in black ink (profitable) instead of red ink (negative profits).
To add to What's News' answer (which was very helpful & ultimately answered your question better than I am going to - about why it's called "Black Friday"), it's a day in which stores have deals that start extremely early. As in, they do not open at the normal hours. Instead, they may open at 3, 4, 5, or 6 am. Some stores, this year, have decided to "up the ante" and open at 10 pm on Thanksgiving, or midnight. Most stores have limited deals (they may have 2 or 3 of an item). People will wait in lines for hours, and sometimes days, for the doors to open, in order to get a discounted item.
I'm on the fence about Black Friday. I find it ridiculous that some people will camp out for a few days (in front of a store) in order to get a deal. Others will lose sleep and/or skip work to save a bit of money. Yes, there are some things (and it's all a matter of perspective) that may be worth getting only a few hours of sleep and our economy isn't the greatest & saving money is important, but all-in-all, there's more hype about Black Friday than there is about Thanksgiving.
My mother is a nurse. The hospital she works for has now declared Black Friday a holiday, but has decided that Easter (a religious holiday here) is no longer a holiday... It's sad.
It is called "Black Friday" because that is the day the stores are no longer "In the Red" because of the increased amount of sales on that big shopping day. I personally don't join in the craziness, but it surely benefits the bottom line of all the retailers. I'm more focused on my bottom line!
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