A brief dive into the origins of the Black Friday phenomenon

Of course, of course! We all know that the origin of what is known as the biggest
shopping day of the year comes from the fact that, on this day companies begin to show their first profit; going out of the red, and into the black. Well, that’s what we thought too! But it turns out that this now global tradition has its roots elsewhere, and while we aren’t participating in Black Friday this year, we would like to try to unravel this hotly debated mystery once and for all!

This simple myth of Black Friday’s origins comes from a time when bookkeeping would have still been done by hand, and red ink would have been used to indicate an annual loss, and black ink used to illustrate a turn of profit. And while it seems that there isn’t really any fact in this origin story, it certainly is true that it has become a self fulfilling prophecy. Companies around the globe cite the day after Thanksgiving as being responsible for up to 40% of their annual profits, and this juggernaut seems to be showing no signs of slowing down. But where does the day actually come from?

We all know that Black Friday is an American creation, and actually the term as we know it today comes from a very particular part of the States. But first, let’s add some context. Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving in America has long been known as the busiest shopping day of the year, and this is down to their departments stores, and one in particular; Macy’s. This giant of retail hosts a parade each and every year, a parade with huge inflatable floats, music, celebration, laughter, tears, and above all, Santa. Yes, no Macy’s Thanksgiving
Day Parade would be complete without the appearance of Saint Nick for the first time in the year, thus signalling the beginning of the holiday season, and an acceptable time to begin your Christmas shopping.

The origin of the term is actually much more colloquial in its roots, and comes from good old downtown Philadelphia. Around the mid-20th Century, thousands of people from 2 the surrounding areas of Philly would ascend on the city to watch the famous Army vs Navy football game, and whilst they had some time to kill, would take advantage of the sales offered by various department stores in the downtown area, ignited by this first appearance of our friend with a belly like a bowl full of jelly. This volume of people and hysteric mass buying was enough to make the police, cab and bus drivers, rural business owners, and others warn
citizens about heading down that way because because of the pandemonium they would find. So they began to call that day Black Friday, simply as a way of warning people away, and in turn accidentally gave a name to a day which has been taken up globally, for better or worse!

However you feel about this day of shopping mayhem, whether you are buying for
others, of simply gifting to yourself, we hope that you will find the time to smugly instil this piece of knowledge onto a friend, family member, or fellow shopper. And above all, shop responsibly!