You’ve probably heard of Black Friday in one way or another, and the words “big discount” and “limited time offer” usually pops out in any event. With those key phrases plastered all over, it’s hard to miss any mention of it at certain times of the year. But have you ever wondered when it all started?
In the United States, Black Friday is arguably a cultural event, stemming from the country’s strong consumer market, especially around late-November and December holiday seasons.
Black Friday’s history being shrouded in mystery, has led to several hypotheses of where the term came from. One of the most widely circulated explanations is through the accounting phrases known as “operating in the red” and “operating in the black”. If a business is “operating in the red”, the business may be spending more than what it’s earning, as denoted by the red ink used to denote debt in accounting books. On the other hand, “operating in the black” means the business is earning a profit from sales as the ink used is black. But this explanation only answers the “Black” in Black Friday, so, how did it come to be on a Friday?
This one is a bit tougher to determine but it’s widely believed to come from its Thanksgiving association. Every Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November when families come together and give thanks to the blessings they received in the past year. Thanksgiving is also the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season in the United States. Hence, the Friday following Thanksgiving day itself is when retailers plaster big discounts to attract as many buyers as possible in the opening days of the holiday shopping season.