Black Friday: History and Tips

rothandmyers November 22, 2019 0 comments

Just a few years earlier we have never heard of something called Black Friday. Now we are already tired of ads with these two words almost since mid October.

What does this mean? Why calling a Friday black and then giving lots of discounts? All these and more questions in this post.

Black Friday is held the last Friday of November. This year it is on the 29th of November.

The history of Black Friday started much earlier than people think and there are different versions. Some of them are related to slaves, others to ink colour retailers used to note their losses or profits, etc. It seems the most “official” one has to do with people’s rush to start the holiday shopping.

Thanksgiving and President Roosevelt

Thanksgiving used to take place on the fifth Thursday of November and retailers had the agreement to start advertising holiday sales just after this holiday. In 1924 Macy’s started its famous Thanksgiving parade and this boosted shopping for the following day.

In 1939 during the Great Depression retailers warned they would go bankrupt because of the short period of holiday shopping season. They asked President Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving holiday up to the fourth week of November.

Unfortunately it was almost mid October so a lot of people had already made plans. Only 32 states followed the President’s move. In 1944 the Congress established Thanksgiving on the fourth week of November passing a law.

In 1950 people started calling in sick on the Friday after Thanksgiving so they had a four-days holiday and could start the holidays shopping before. As a result many businesses started adding this day as a paid holiday (it is not, however, an official holiday) and became the start of the holiday shopping season.

Why Black Friday?

Black Friday had until then only been used to refer to the Black Friday of 1869 when the speculation in gold prices resulted in a stock market crash and the drop of 20% of the prices.

This changed in the 60s as it appeared in an ad referring to the traffic jams and the crowds in the cities. In Philadelphia, police agents started using these words to refer to this day. They had so much work due to accidents, traffic jams and incidents they could not have the day off and they even had to work extra hours.


As mentioned before, Black Friday refers to the start of the shopping season for Christmas. Retailers take advantage of it and give special discounts only that day.

Retailers used to open their shops early but it has been increasing. Nowadays it has become something that big some of them head out right after their Thanksgiving meal. There are also some shops that start their sales before and it is extended to the whole weeken. New shopping days have appeared, for example “Small Business Saturday or Sunday” or Cyber Monday.

It has been now introduced in other countries out of the USA and it is becoming common in countries such as Spain or the UK and some Asian countries.

It still maintains its “black” part because there are still lots of crowds, traffic jams and even some fights inside shops. Camps outside the shops are also common. People camping block emergency exits and cause injuries because of the use of generators to stay warm.

Consumerism or good opportunity?

Some ecologists have been warning this so-called discount day only makes us buy things we do not need and spend a lot of money.

What is true is that there are lots of interesting discounts and people usually spend lots of money during this weekend but it is also true that some shops take advantage of this shopping fever.

Here we have five tips for a good Black Friday shopping:

-Make a list of desired items some weeks before.
-Have a look at their prices and the different possibilities.
-Make sure it is the right one and do not buy something just because it is cheap.
-Be aware of possible shipping delays as there will be lots of shopping these days.
-Buy it and enjoy.

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Enjoy your shopping with the tips we provided!

Did you know the origin of Black Friday? Do you have any good shopping tip? Let us know in the comments below.

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