The day following Thanksgiving—commonly referred to as Black Friday—has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the United States. National chain stores traditionally offer limited money-saving specials on a wide variety of goods in an effort to lure shoppers into stores while offering similar deals online.
It is believed by many that the term Black Friday derives from the concept that businesses operate at a financial loss, or are “in the red,” until the day after Thanksgiving, when massive sales finally allow them to turn a profit, or put them “in the black.” However, this is untrue.
We get a little bit excited about Black Friday weekend every year – there’s an undeniable buzz surrounding this particular sale period and we all get caught up in it, but what actuallyis Black Friday?
BLACK FRIDAY HISTORY MYTHS AND FACTS
There are several myths surrounding the origin of ‘Black Friday’ – the most famous, and arguably most glamorous, is a conspiracy concocted by two stock market financiers who bought up as much gold in America as they could so that they could sell it later at super high profits. When their plan was unravelled the day after Thanksgiving, shops who had been operating ‘in the red’ (at a financial loss) were finally able to register their takings ‘in the black’, ie. at a profit.
WHERE DID BLACK FRIDAY ORIGINATE?
In actual fact, it was to do with the raucous behaviour of the crowds that flocked to Philadelphia in anticipation of the Army vs Navy annual football game on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, which caused a headache for the police force year after year. The term ‘Black Friday’ didn’t quite catch on across the US until years later, and took longer still to expand across the pond to the UK and other countries around the world.
Now we see it everywhere, and with the digital age on the rise we saw the addition of Cyber Monday in 2005, which has turned the single day sale into a 4 day weekend, during which time retailers and shoppers alike can get swept up in the excitement of the season!
As interesting as the albeit dark history of the term Black Friday is, we know you probably have some questions about what this sale means for you and your orders, so we’ve put together a little FAQ based on the last four years of London Lash Black Friday sales to help you!
Myth 1: Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year.
Many people consider the day after Thanksgiving to be the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. In the United States, several employers give their employees the Friday after Thanksgiving off, as part of the Thanksgiving weekend.
As a result, there are more potential shoppers in the streets on Black Friday that can boost retail sales. This, coupled with the amount of Black Friday advertisement, long queues, and crazy shopping frenzies shown on the TV definitely makes it seem like Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year.
Black Friday sure seems like the biggest shopping day of the year. However, statistics from the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) disproves this myth. Turns out, consumers actually spend more in the days leading up to Christmas, compared to Black Friday itself.
According to a 2016 ICSC Report, 61% of consumers expected similar deals to happen in December, and 29% believed the deals in December would be even better compared to Black Friday deals. In fact, the last Saturday before Christmas, known as Super Saturday, traditionally hold the title of the best day of the year for businesses in terms of sales.
Myth 2: It is called Black Friday because it is the first profitable day of the year for retail businesses.
Traditionally, most retail businesses operated at a loss for most of the year, making their profits solely during the holiday season. In a company’s financial records, common accounting practices would record losses in red ink and gains in black ink.
The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the season when retailers would go from being “in the red” to “back in the black”. Hence, why we call it “Black Friday”.
Although this myth gives an entertaining explanation for the origin of the name “Black Friday”, it is incorrect. According to the History channel, this story was actually created in order to reinvent Black Friday, and hide the negative aspects of the real origin of the name.
Myth 3: Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers
Plumbers receive up to 50% more calls on Black Friday, than they do on a normal Friday. Although many would be quick to blame the extra large and hearty Thanksgiving meal, the number one reason for calls is clogged kitchen sink drains.
Yes, Black Friday is in fact the busiest day of the year for american plumbers. As many people prepare and clean up after a big Thanksgiving meal, large scraps of leftover food and grease might end up in the kitchen sink drain, causing it to become clogged.
Myth 4: The Philadelphia Police named the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday”, because of the chaotic crowds and horrible traffic jams the city experienced every year.
In the 1950’s, the Police of Philadelphia used to call the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Black Friday and Black Saturday, as hordes of people stormed the city because of the Army-Navy football game held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year.
The Philadelphia police were not allowed to take the day off, and would have to work extra long shifts in order to cope with the crowded chaos. In addition, shoplifters would take advantage of the chaotic situation, adding to the stress of the Philadelphia Police department.
It is true, the name “Black Friday” originates from the Philadelphia Police department, as they used the term to describe the horrible traffic jams and mayhem the city would experience on this day every year. It has a very negative connotation, as a black day of the week usually means something bad happened that day. For instance, October 24, 1929, which is the beginning of The Great Depression, is known as Black Thursday.
Retailers tried to rename “Black Friday” to “Big Friday”, although these efforts failed. This is why the “in the red” story was created in order to spin the name “Black Friday” into something positive.
Myth 5: Black Friday was spread to Norway through a naked stunt
In 2010, the shopping mall Norwegian Outlet introduced Norwegians to Black Friday through a naked stunt. To attract the most attention, the shopping mall hosted a fashion event with 8 “naked” models. Four women and four men wearing skin-coloured underwear walked a catwalk in order to promote Norwegian Outlet’s Black Friday sale.
Myth 5: Black Friday was spread to Norway through a naked stunt
Black Friday was in fact spread to Norway through a naked stunt. Norwegian Outlet’s stunt got a lot of media attention, and although some people frown of the “americanisation” of Norway, Black Friday continues to grow in popularity each year.