Meaning Of Black Friday

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The term “Black Friday” might seem like the most inappropriately assigned naming convention for something that is not black, gloomy or negative in any sense; for that matter! In fact, as we all know it, this name represents a day when there is more joy and celebration that heralds the beginning of the festivities that come with Christmas and the holiday season.

So, why this ironical name for something that marks the beginning of shopping and deals for customers and sales and profits for businesses! And why does the name continue to be; despite representing something directly in contrast to what it literally means or signifies!!

When is Black Friday?

“Black Friday” refers to the first Friday after Thanksgiving. As we all know, it is the day when everyone sets out to start their Christmas and holiday shopping. And with good reason! It is also the day when you can find some of the best deals in the year. All retailers and businesses go all out in their attempts to woo their customers and the deals and offers provided by them are just a way to boost their sales and make up for all the losses or deficits they might have incurred over the year!!

Why “Black” Friday?

Although there are many theories and stories as to why this day happened to take on such a contradictory name; one of the most commonly accepted explanations for this naming convention is that retailers and businesses made it “in the black” on this day. This phrase was used to signify the profits that a business gained and was more of an accounting term.

This tradition started as a last-ditch attempt to attract as many customers as possible into the shops and to enable sales. And to make this possible; businesses came up with promotions and offers that customers could not really resist. Things are no different today!

And it is believed that the naming convention shifted from accounting to regular usage and started signifying this day when most retailers were believed to make enough profits to overcome all the losses they had incurred through the year!!

How It All Began?

But “Black Friday” was not always used in this positive connotation. As you can imagine, the original use of this term had more negative and derogatory connotations than we would like to imagine!

Some of the commonly accepted origins of this term, with its negative connotations are listed here:

1. Collapse of the US gold market:

One of the oldest references to the usage of this term can be tracked to the crash of the gold market in the US in 1869, on 24th September; to be more precise. And keeping with this tradition many such economic crashes have been referred to with the “Black…day” usage including the stock exchange crashes and stock market collapses that occurred in 1929 and 1987.

2. Factory Managers in 1950s:

There are those who claim that this term originated with the factory managers who started referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving in this derogatory manner. The story claims that because of the high number of absence in factories, on the next day of Thanksgiving, managers found it difficult to meet their production targets. And it ended up being an unexpectedly long weekend, thanks to all the employees would call in sick!!

3. Philadelphia Police Department:

Despite the above two claims; one story that has found popular acceptance among people is that the term “Black Friday” originated in the Philadelphia Police Department. They used it pejoratively to refer to the weekend after Thanksgiving when the annual “Army-Navy football” happened. The Police were over-worked and over-stressed trying to manage all the crowd and traffic that incessantly poured in!! Add to that the retailers’ discounts galore; and it was the perfect concoction for worst crowd behavior. Not to mention, the worst crowd-control scenario for the Police Department!!

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