After Thanksgiving, they say that accountants used to reach for black ink instead of red, thanks to high sales. Although it sounds like a probable explanation for the name and is likely to be true, this is not the real story of Black Friday as we know it.
The first time the name “Black Friday” was mentioned had nothing to do with an enjoyable shopping trip. On Friday, September 24, 1869, the US gold market crashed. With the intent of richly lining their pockets, two Wall Street financiers purchased as much gold as they could to cause the price of gold to go up, with the plan to make a tidy profit by selling their gold very quickly. However, the plan was uncovered, the price of gold plummeted and on this particular “black” Friday, countless people were financially ruined. However, this was not the only Black Friday having nothing to do with stores and online bargains.
“Black Friday” was linked to shopping for the first time in the 1950s in Philadelphia – but not in a good way. The police there coined the term as chaos reigned in Philadelphia on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Crowds of people poured into the city with their families to not only go shopping on their day off but also because of the traditional football game on the following Saturday. General chaos, traffic jams, overcrowded sidewalks and thievery kept the police on their toes from morning to evening. This was not a popular day to work so they called it Black Friday. Over the years, the term spread from Philadelphia across the whole country and gradually lost its negative connotation. Soon Black Friday became a term used by US retailers to draw attention to their special, post-Thanksgiving deals. And so over the years, the Friday after Thanksgiving became established as a shopping event – without any negative associations.
Today, Black Friday has become the most lucrative day of the year in the US.