Now you’ve shopped. Here’s some questions you might have, answered…
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is many things. In America, it’s the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, when retailers slash prices and open early to encourage a pre-Christmas buying spree. In Britain it used to be best known as that funny day when Americans got into fights over cheap toasters. That changed in 2010, when Amazon UK started offering deals on the day and other shops followed suit. The media and retailers are determined to turn it into an ‘event’: newspapers get annual headlines about tramplings, robberies and ‘chaotic midnight scenes’, while retailers get massive advertising.
Why is it called Black Friday?
There are numerous urban legends surrounding the name. One theory goes that this is the day on which shops sell enough to become profitable for the year: getting out of the red and into the black. Another states that it’s tied into the financial crisis of 1869, when the US gold market collapsed, although this was actually a different ‘Black Friday’.
The real origin seems to be the Philadelphia police force, who were so fed up with the “irksome problem” of traffic jams caused by shoppers they christened the day “Black Friday”. Retailers always hated the name, wanting to swap it for the more positive ‘Big Friday’, but it stuck.