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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Friday

Monday - November 14th, 2016
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Black Friday has become the biggest shopping day of the year in the world’s largest economy. After a day of eating, US shoppers across the country head out to stores in hopes of saving a significant amount of money on their holiday shopping.

Many shoppers participate for the great deals, but have you ever wondered what exactly Black Friday means and how it began? Here are 8 things about Black Friday that you may not have known:

1. The term “Black Friday” used to refer to stock market crashes in the 1800s.
Now it refers to the biggest shopping day in the US! The first time the term was used was on September 24, 1869, when two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fish, tried to corner the gold market on the New York Stock Exchange. When the government stepped in, prices went down and investors lost a sizable amount of money.

2. “Santa Claus Parades” were Black Friday’s predecessor.
For Americans, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become a staple in our holiday tradition. But, many would be surprised to know the event was actually inspired from the Canadian department store Eaton’s who held a “Santa Claus Parade” December 2, 1905. Once Santa appeared the holiday season officially began! Macy’s learned of the grand spectacle and began the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

3. The date of Thanksgiving was somewhat influenced by holiday shoppers.
President Abraham Lincoln started the tradition of Thanksgiving and declared the “day of thanks giving” on the last Thursday in November. But, in 1939 the last Thursday happened to be the last day in November. Retailers didn’t like this because it meant less holiday shopping days and petitioned the date. President Roosevelt then declared the holiday a week earlier – which stuck!

4. “Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis”…
A researcher at the University of North Carolina claims to have first used the term as it relates to the holiday. In 1951 the UNC newsletter drew attention to the high level of sickness the day after Thanksgiving. “Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis” is what it was referred to, and it mostly referred to all the retail employees who began calling in sick because they didn’t want to deal with the crowds.

5. Big Friday?
Philadelphia is the first city to popularize the term Black Friday. Frustrated police officers started referring to the day as such due to the exhaust fumes from shoppers cars. Retailers didn’t appreciate the association with traffic and smog, so they tried to rebrand the day as “Big Friday.” Alas, the term never stuck.

6. Black Friday Didn’t Become a National Term Until the 1990s.

The term only stuck in Philadelphia, as stated in number five, for quite some time. It didn’t start to spread throughout the US until the 1980s. It finally became a national term in 1990.

7. Some say Black Friday refers to “going into the black”.

Since the term “Black Friday” has had somewhat of a negative history, retailers wanted to put a spin on it, so that shoppers and employees would see it as a positive. Retailers stated when a retailer became profitable, they “went into the black” so the term referred to businesses booming.

8. Black Friday became the biggest shopping day of the year in 2001.
While it is said to be the biggest day of the year, it didn’t consistently do so until the 2000s. Because of typical American procrastination, the Saturday before Christmas used to be the most popular shopping day.