Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Many regard it as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. While it is not a federal holiday, several states observe the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday, which means many state and school employees have the day off. Therefore, the number of potential shoppers is high.
In fact, since 2005, it has been the busiest shopping day of the year. With retailers extending their hours and deals, the crowds and choas of Black Friday shows no signs of slowing down. Here's a look at the history and evolution of Black Friday.
The term Black Friday was first used in the United States to describe a financial crisis in 1869. On September 24, 1869, James Fish and Jay Gould tried to take over the gold market in the New York Gold Exchange. The first time Black Friday referred to shopping the day after Thanksgiving was in this 1961 Philadelphia public relations newsletter:
For downtown merchants throughout the nation, the biggest shopping days normally are the two following Thanksgiving Day. Resulting traffic jams are an irksome problem to the police and, in Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday. Hardly a stimulus for good business, the problem was discussed by the merchants with their Deputy City Representative, Abe S. Rosen, one of the country's most experienced municipal PR executives. He recommended adoption of a positive approach which would convert Black Friday and Black Saturday to Big Friday and Big Saturday.
The use of the name was gradual, but by 1975, it appeared in The New York Times: Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it Black Friday – that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army–Navy Game. It is the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year in the Bicentennial City as the Christmas list is checked off and the Eastern college football season nears conclusion. Although many merchants opposed the use of what could be seen as a negative name for the biggest shopping day of the year, the term Black Friday stuck.
For years, retailers would open their doors at 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday. However, in the late 2000s, many began opening at 5:00 or 4:00 a.m., to increase shopping hours and, therefore, profits. In 2011, Best Buy, Kohl's, Macy's, Target and other...