Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We have all heard the term Black Friday. We have identified it as a Christmas term meaning the Friday after Thanksgiving. I don't remember hearing the term as a child, do you?

My question for the day is, when did that expression become a hook?

It all started in 1924, that is 85 years ago with the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Well, at least Macy's takes credit for it.

The real skinny on it is this: The term dates back to at least 1966, although its usage was primarily on the East coast. The term has become more common in other parts of the country since 2000. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.

Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employees have the day off which increases the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often decorate for the holiday weeks beforehand. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier. Some of the larger retailers (depending on the location) such as Sears, Macy's, Best Buy and Walmart, have been reported to open as early as midnight on the start of Black Friday in localized areas and remain open for 24 hours throughout the day until midnight the following Saturday.

Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy's Parade in 1924, the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1960s.

The term "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit.

With that in mind, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I didn't hear it as a kid because the term wasn't used then. Whew! Thought I missed something!

I suppose we should learn about the Macy's Parade.

Oh, and according to the local paper, Walmart is having a black Thursday in this part of the country. Some how the term just doesn't sound right, does it?


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