Black Friday has become as much as a part of Thanksgiving tradition as pumpkin pie and awkward family conversations. But this day of shopping deals has become synonymous with news stories. It is one of the most controversial expressions of the commercialism of the holiday season. Black Friday means waking up very early, or even staying up all night, and pushing through crowds and chaos to get the best deals. Are you ready? Take this quiz and we'll guess whether or not you are.
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The day after Thanksgiving has come to be a big holiday shopping kick-off day where a frenzy of deals-hunters flocks to the stores in what has become known as "Black Friday." While it seems logical that the origin of the name would be about a day when retailers turn a profit or "go into the black," but that is not actually where the name of this shopping day comes from. Did you know that Black Friday actually got its name from a bunch of traffic-weary police officers in Philadelphia in the 1960s? These officers didn't actually coin the phrase Black Friday.
Historically, calling a day "black" has been used to refer to a day where an awful event happens. Many ominous days have been called Black Friday, including the day the U.S. gold market crashed in 1869, the day that London got news that throne-pretender Charles Edward Stuart landed in Scotland in 1745, and the day the intense riots of the Battle of George Square broke in Glasgow in 1910.
The cranky Philadelphia police gave the name black to the day after Thanksgiving because it was a really awful day to them. All the travelers and shoppers on the road meant lots of extra work for them, especially as there weren't as many traffic lights and an officer would be placed in intersections directing challenging mobs of automobile and pedestrian traffic. The cops frustration with this chaos led them to call the day "Black Friday" in the press.
But retailers were concerned that using the word "black" for this day would affect their business, on a day that was important for stores as many people had the day off and were in the holiday and shopping spirit. So retailers attempted to change the name to "Big Friday," but that didn't really stick. When they couldn't get the name changed, retailers begin to rebrand it and push the positive idea that Black Friday was a day all about keeping profits in the black and not about the horrible traffic conditions.
Though anyone who has tried to find a parking spot at the mall on this day really knows why it is called Black Friday.
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