February 5, 2023
Black Friday


Americans will search for the best deals as a Black Friday tradition, but many are unaware of the day’s history. Origins stem from economic troubles and bad memories for big cities all over the country.


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Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving and is widely known as a day for Americans to score a head start on their Christmas shopping. However, many may not know that the origin had nothing to do with Christmas.

The earliest use of the term “Black Friday” was in 1869 due to a market crash with plummeting gold prices, which affected the U.S. economy for years, according to a report from the Huffington Post. 

Philadelphia was one of the first big cities to feel the true impact of Black Friday. “The Philadelphia police department used the term to describe the traffic jams, and intense crowding at retail stores,” David Zyla, an Emmy-winning stylist and author, said.

The “How to Win at Shopping” author also referenced an ad from 1966 in The American Philatelist, a magazine for stamp collectors, in which it mentioned how Philadelphia police dreaded the day due to packed stores in streets opening until closing time.

In a 1994 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer called “The Friday Was Black With Traffic,” the late longtime police reporter Joseph P. Barrett wrote that Philadelphia police officers used the name “Black Friday” to describe the terrible traffic conditions in the city that day.

Local police were not the only ones that disliked Black Friday. In his book, Zyla also mentioned that workers hated the day due to the long, exhausting hours. “The ratio of sales personnel to customers added to the pandemonium, as the frequent custom at the time was for sales associates to call in sick on this day and extend their Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” Zyla said. 

Black Friday has turned into a frenzy for shoppers and retailers. In 2019, it hit a record of $7.2 billion just from online sales. So far, 17 deaths have been reported on Black Friday, since 2006.





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