The term “Black Friday” refers to the single day of the year when retail companies finally go
“into the black” (i.e. make a profit). Nowadays it is a happy (and convenient) day (or some days
or even a week in some cases) for many people because in the late 1980s retailers found a way
to reinvent its meaning and turn it into something that reflected positively on them and their
customers. But the real story behind this event is a bit more complicated (and obscure).
1) The first recorded use of “Black Friday” to the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. Two Wall Street financiers worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price really high and sell it for astonishing profits. On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone.
2) Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.
3) The most common story about Black Friday tradition links it to retailers. After an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew lots of money on discounted merchandise. Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday’s origin is the officially sanctioned story behind the tradition (even if it is inaccurate).
4) Recently, another myth has born about this day, claiming that in the 1800s Southern plantation owners could buy slaves at a discount on the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe it's the real story, but it has no basis in fact.
What is the real story in your opinion? Let us know and have a good shopping week!