First we give thanks on thanksgiving, black Friday sounds rather creepy to a person that does now know the term.
Fri, 25 Nov 2011 00:05:54
In the USA losing money is going into the red, meaning red ink, well black friday is when a company makes money, or "into the black."
Black Friday Defined: Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in many British Commonwealth countries. Black Friday is not actually a holiday, but most non-retail employers give their employees the day off, increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black". For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00, but in the late 2000s, many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohls, Macy's, Best Buy, and Bealls) will open at midnight for the first time, forcing employees to either go without enough sleep or miss all or part of Thanksgiving with family. A backlash has resulted, with an online petition gathering more than 184,000 virtual signatures urging Target to let their employees have Thanksgiving with their families instead of their employer. Walmart will open at 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving and Toys 'R' Us at 9:00 pm. In 2010, Sears was open on Thanksgiving day. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, the day after occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.
Shopping The news media have long described the day after Thanksgiving as the busiest shopping day of the year. In earlier years, this was not actually the case. In the period from 1993 through 2001, for example, Black Friday ranked from fifth to tenth on the list of busiest shopping days, with the Saturday before Christmas usually taking first place. In 2003, however, Black Friday actually was the busiest shopping day of the year, and it has retained that position every year since except 2004, when it ranked second. Black Friday is popular as a shopping day for a combination of several reasons. As the first day after the last major holiday before Christmas it inaugurates the Christmas season. Additionally, many employers give their employees the day off as part of Thanksgiving leave, increasing the potential number of shoppers. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailers in the country, big and small, offer various sales. Recent years have seen retailers extend beyond normal hours in order to maintain an edge, or to simply keep up with competition. Such hours may include opening as early as 12:00 a.m. or remaining open overnight on Thanksgiving Day and beginning sales prices at midnight. In 2010, Toys 'R' Us began their Black Friday sales at 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and further upped the ante by offering free boxes of Crayola crayons and coloring books for as long as supplies lasted. Other retailers, like Sears, Aéropostale, and Kmart, began Black Friday sales early Thanksgiving morning, and ran them through as late as 11:00 p.m. Friday evening. Forever 21 went in the opposite direction, opening at normal hours on Friday, and running late sales until 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Historically, it was common for Black Friday sales to extend throughout the following weekend. However, this practice has largely disappeared in recent years, perhaps because of an effort by retailers to create a greater sense of urgency. The huge population centers around Lake Ontario in Canada have always attracted cross border shopping into the U.S. states, and as Black Friday became more popular in the U.S. after 2001, many were traveling for the deals across the border. In 2009 several major Canadian retailers had their own version of the day by running promotions to discourage shoppers from leaving for the U.S. Canada's Boxing Day is comparable to Black Friday in terms of retailer impact and consumerism, but Black Fridays in the U.S. seem to provide deeper or more extreme price cuts than Canadian retailers, even for the same international retailer. More recently, Black Friday has been exported to nations outside of North America such as Australia and the United Kingdom by major online retailers like Amazon or Apple. Origin of the term Black Friday as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869 in the United States. The earliest known reference to "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication on the day's significance in Philadelphia:
JANUARY 1966 -- "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing. The term Black Friday began to get wider exposure around 1975, as shown by two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, both datelined Philadelphia. The first reference is in an article entitled "Army vs. Navy: A Dimming Splendor," 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. The derivation is also clear in an Associated Press article entitled "Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy," which ran in the Titusville Herald on the same day:
Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. ... "That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,'" a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. "They think in terms of headaches it gives them." The term's spread was gradual, however, and in 1985 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that retailers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles were still unaware of the term. Accounting practice
Many merchants objected to the use of a negative term to refer to one of the most important shopping days in the year. By the early 1980s, an alternative theory began to be circulated: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. When this would be recorded in the financial records, once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period where retailers would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black). The earliest known use, which like the 1966 example above was found by Bonnie Taylor-Blake of the American Dialect Society, is from 1981, again from Philadelphia, and presents the "black ink" theory as one of several competing possibilities:
If the day is the year's biggest for retailers, why is it called Black Friday? Because it is a day retailers make profits -- black ink, said Grace McFeeley of Cherry Hill Mall. "I think it came from the media," said William Timmons of Strawbridge & Clothier. "It's the employees, we're the ones who call it Black Friday," said Belle Stephens of Moorestown Mall. "We work extra hard. It's a long hard day for the employees." The Christmas shopping season is of enormous importance to American retailers and, while most retailers intend to and actually do make profits during every quarter of the year, some retailers are so dependent on the Christmas shopping season that the quarter including Christmas produces all the year's profits and compensates for losses from other quarters. Violence Whereas the 1996 film Jingle All the Way depicted a comedic dramatization of somewhat chaotic antics that people may go through in order to achieve their holiday shopping goals, recent years have seen a marked increase in extreme chaos resulting from people's desires to take advantage of Black Friday sales. In 2006, a man in Roanoke, Virginia shopping at Best Buy was recorded on video assaulting another shopper. Unruly Wal-Mart shoppers at a store outside Columbus, Ohio, quickly flooded in the doors at opening, pinning several employees against stacks of merchandise. Nine shoppers in a California mall were injured, including an elderly woman who had to be taken to the hospital, when the crowd rushed to grab gift certificates that had been released from the ceiling. In 2008 a crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, waited outside for the 5:00 a.m. opening of the local Wal-Mart. As opening time approached the crowd grew anxious and when the doors were opened the crowd pushed forward, breaking the door down, and trampling a 34 year old employee to death. The shoppers did not appear concerned with the victim's fate, expressing refusal to halt their stampede when other employees attempted to intervene and help the injured employee, complaining that they had been waiting in the cold and were not willing to wait any longer. Shoppers had begun assembling as early as 9:00 the evening before. Even when police arrived and attempted to render aid to the injured man, shoppers continued to pour in, shoving and pushing the officers as they made their way into the store. Several other people incurred minor injuries, including a pregnant woman who had to be taken to the hospital. The incident may be the first case of a death occurring during Black Friday sales; according to the National Retail Federation, "We are not aware of any other circumstances where a retail employee has died working on the day after Thanksgiving." During Black Friday 2010, a Madison, Wisconsin woman was arrested outside of a Toys 'R' Us store after cutting in line, and threatening to shoot other shoppers who tried to object. A Toys for Tots volunteer in Georgia was stabbed by a shoplifter. An Indianapolis woman was arrested after causing a disturbance by arguing with other Wal-Mart shoppers. She had been asked to leave the store, but refused. A man was arrested at a Florida Wal-Mart on drug and weapons charges after other shoppers waiting in line for the store to open noticed that he was carrying a handgun and reported the matter to police. He was discovered to also be carrying two knives and a pepper spray grenade. A man in Buffalo, New York, was trampled when doors opened at a Target store and unruly shoppers rushed in, in an episode reminiscent of the deadly 2008 Wal-Mart stampede.