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What is Black Friday?

Updated on November 8, 2018
Ken Burgess profile image

Originally from Cape Cod. Army Vet., Fmr. Director of Energy Conservation programs, RE Agent, current residence the Space Coast, FL

This year Friday, November 23rd, the day after Thanksgiving, is known as 'Black Friday'.

It is believed the term ‘Black Friday’ came about because not so many years ago department stores reported their highest profits for the year on that day. In bookkeeping (recording of losses and profits) terminology ‘in the red’ or red ink means you had loss, and ‘in the black’ or black ink means you had profit.

Another belief is that the term 'Black Friday' hails from the early 00s during the start of the internet explosion into everyone’s daily lives, the term was bantered about on the internet and the retailers picked up on it. Prior to its identity as ‘Black Friday’, people used to refer to the sales that stores would hold on the day after Thanksgiving as 'Day after Thanksgiving Sale' or some variation thereof.

Retail stores would publish ads in the newspaper and on tv on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving being a holiday for most Americans (school systems included), and it being near to a variety of holidays that fall in December in which family and friends exchange gifts and spend time with one another, (such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe), this became a preferred time over the years for people to do their ‘holiday shopping’.

In the last few years Black Friday has begun prior to the Friday after Thanksgiving with some stores starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day itself, and some starting it as early as Monday. Today it is not surprising to see a Black Friday sale starting on Monday of Black Friday week.

Black Friday used to be the start of holiday shopping season when almost all major stores came out with big sales events, with the early bird specials to attract customers to come to their stores (over a competitor). It has evolved itself to a point where people will stand in line for hours before the stores are opened, to grab the bargains advertised.

With the current trends of consumers shopping more and more online, it remains to be seen if the trend of ‘mobbing’ department stores on Black Friday will continue.

Today most Black Friday sales are available online as well. And some online stores, such as Amazon, offer no alternative but to shop online.

However, some are in-store only Black Friday deals, and may not be available online. This is often the case for items that may be well stocked in the store, the items are likely to vary from store to store, region to region, even if part of a national chain like Walmart or Target.

To find out more information on Black Friday and like events try the links below:

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© 2017 Ken Burgess


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