Black Friday

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

Black Friday

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:34 pm

What is the origin of in reference to the Day after Thanksgiving shopping day?

Laurie USA
Submitted by ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Topic imported and archived

Black Friday

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:49 pm

"Black Friday is sometimes erroneously described as the biggest shopping day of the year, but in spite of the mobs of glassy-eyed shoppers you see on the evening news, many are just window shopping.

<SNIP>

The day gets its name from another era, when retailers who struggled all year in a sea of red ink looked to the day after Thanksgiving to get them into the black.
"It's a very important day," said John Konarski, senior vice president at the International Council of Shopping Centers. "But saleswise it actually comes in at around No. 8. The biggest shopping day is the Saturday before Christmas."
National Retail Federation President Tracy Mullin said Black Friday is not necessarily the barometer it used to be, but it's still important.
"If you don't see a gigantic blip in sales, it doesn't mean it's going to be a bad holiday season," she said. "It's probably not as important as it once was about 20 years ago, but it's still very important."

<SNIP>

From CNN Financial Network News
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Black Friday

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:03 am

Come now Leif, you should know better than that. Black Friday was the beginning of the 1869 financial panic in the U.S.
Reply from ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Black Friday

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:17 am

Dear (-):
I looked into that aspect, but decided that since Laurie was referring to the shopping day after Thanksgiving, the expression had its "positive" origin in the commerce that followed that day. Black Friday has been used as an expression connoting dismal occurrences, labor problems, stockmarket teeters, etc. All negatives. If we were to use the expression "Black Friday" for the day after Thanksgiving in the 1869 sense, then it would imply a disastrous day for merchants -- which it ain't! The expression had its "positive" origin in the good commerce that followed that day. Now if Laurie had asked what is the origin of the term "Black Friday," then I would have included the Fisk/Gould attempt to corner the gold market in 1869, or the stockmarket crash in 1873, the termination of the Canadian Avro Arrow building program and the subsequent redundancy of 14,000+ workers in 1959, and more recently Tony Blair's Black Friday when the Labor Party lost all those council seats (Good Friday for Tories!). *G*

Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: Black Friday

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:14 am

According to Ben Zimmer, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal, the term 'Black Friday'
"first became attached to the big post-Thanksgiving shopping rush in the early 1960s in Philadelphia, when the police who had to deal with all of the traffic headaches thought that that was just the worst day that they had to deal with".
However, his description indicates that the application of the term to the Friday after Thanksgiving goes back at least as far as a 1951 issue of the industry journal Factory Management and Maintenance, where for factory managers, Black Friday had to do with worker absenteeism.

From Factory Management and Maintenance:
"Friday after Thanksgiving -- it is a disease second only to the bubonic plague in its effects. At least that's the feeling of those who have to get production out when the Black Friday comes along. The shop may be half empty, but every absentee was sick and can prove it".
Zimmer says that today's understanding of the term is due to the attempt of retailers to come up with a name for the day after Thanksgiving (which in the USA always falls on the fourth Thursday of November1) that would serve their commercial purposes much better:
"So we see in the early examples, the retailers say, can we call this something else? How about Big Friday? They wanted to rebrand it into something more positive.

But by the 1980s, they had taken that expression, Black Friday, and given it a new explanation. It wasn't because of all the traffic snarls that people had to deal with. But instead, the story about how their stores were going to go into the black, they were going to turn a profit, starts showing up in the 1980s, after about 20 years of usage".
Zimmer comments that this invention of a new meaning to give 'Black Friday' a positive connotation was the product of a process that a Yale University linguist, Larry Horn, has dubbed 'etymythology'.
"... we can say pretty firmly that the retail explanation of Black Friday is just historically not true.

But now it feeds into a kind of a mythology that the retailers themselves perpetuate over the years. And if you are in the retail business, you will learn this story. You will accept it as part of retail lore. And so it just circulates that way, even if it doesn't actually have that historical truth to it".
1 The Canadian Thanksgiving festival falls on the second Monday of October.
Post actions:

Re: Black Friday

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:53 pm

As you can imagine Black Friday was an unheard of mystery to us in the UK. This year one supermarket, Asda, held Black Friday sales which left millions of us wondering what the hell it was all about.

Asda is a company founded in Yorkshire by ASsociated DAries. It was sold a couple of years ago to some outfit called 'Walmart'. Doesn't that explain a lot? They will have us eating pumpkin pie before long!
Post actions:
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: Black Friday

Post by trolley » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:48 am

The Black Friday Sale, held the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day (Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving Day in October) has been gaining momentum in Canada for the past few years. This year there was a huge promotion around it, especially in areas close to the 49th parallel. Most goods are significantly less expensive in The States than they are up here and the discounts offered on this day are too much for many Canucks to resist (even a few years ago when the U.S. dollar was worth far more than our Loonie). The “Canadian Black Friday” is an attempt to stem the tide of border crossers who make an annual pilgrimage to do their holiday shopping in the US of A. The reality is that we still can’t compete with those American prices and I know lots of people who make the trip every year.
Post actions:

End of topic.
Post Reply