Why is it Called “Black Friday”?

Last night, at the second Thanksgiving dinner I sat down to, my future brother-in-law asked a rather odd (but asked a lot) question — “Why is it called ‘Black Friday’?”

Hah. Oh boy, did I know how to answer this one. I had asked it last year around the same time. He’s 29, I’m 29, so shouldn’t we already know that? So to those of you still reading this and not rolling your eyes at our late awareness from economic ignorance, here ya go.


The term of “Black Friday” actually took a super negative air with it until the ’80s.

  • 50s: People just weren’t showing up for work the day after Thanksgiving
  • 60s: Philadelphia police coin the term, referring to crazy jaywalkers and crappy drivers flocking to Center City to go shopping
  • 70s: Term is now widely used by the country, but everyone hates it and fears it because it means chaos and shoplifters 
  • 80s: Accounting terms come to play, and stores use ‘Black Friday’ to describe that they have gone from red (negative) profits to black (positive) profits 


Though the negative connotation could actually date back to a massive economic gold crisis from 1869, just use the decades above because that’s what’s really important. It’s been said that it was actually the media that brought about this “black ink theory” having to do with a positive show on paper that profits would sky rocket. Who knows. Point is, you’re supposed to associate Black Friday with positivity these days, because more money equals happiness.



Now, in 2013, times are just getting crazy in terms of opening hours for stores. Though there are still states that prohibit sales on Thanksgiving at any time (like Massachusetts), in the Philly area, Kohl’s opened at EIGHT PM ON FREAKING THANKSGIVING NIGHT. What??





So in addition to all the insane freaking violence that Black Friday brings to crazed shoppers who care more about a $50 savings than lives, now a good lot of stores are encouraging the murder of Thanksgiving. Heartless. But this isn’t an opinion piece, I’m just here to bring you history.

And now you know the origin of the name, here are the other unofficial holidays preceding Turkey Day.


Last Thursday of November



Black Thursday

Friday After Thanksgiving


The Day After Thanksgiving

Black Friday

Saturday After Thanksgiving


Small Business Saturday

Sunday After Thanksgiving


Stay The Hell Off The Road Sunday

Monday After Thanksgiving


Cyber Monday

Tuesday After Thanksgiving


Giving Tuesday


About emja

Emja* was born in Björk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where her parents were giant stone heads. She has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of her hands and she can turn her legs into tigers. On Sundays, Emja enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. Her favorite color is greenish-transparent and her favorite movie is the one you just watched. Emja is in charge of uploading the staff bios to the website, and no one has checked over her work. *name has been changed