One of the common misconceptions about Black Friday was that it was a term created in the 1980’s by accountants in the retail industry as a “day to finally get into the black and start turning a profit for the year”. While this may be true in some cases, the phrase was actually coined back in the 1960s by Philadelphia, PA police officers.
Now why would police officers coin a phrase describing a day the retail industry considers their Super Bowl you might ask? Well it actually relates to football, the Army/Navy football game to be specific, which is played annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Crowds used to pour into the downtown Philadelphia area, traveling from near and far, the day after Thanksgiving and would stay through the weekend. The traffic mayhem and huge crowds that resulted from this caused the Philadelphia police department to give the day its name. It wasn’t until over 2 decades later that the nation began to regularly use the term “Black Friday” to describe it in a shopping sense.
Looking at some of the statistics of the modern Black Friday, I’m sure the Philadelphia police department would have been more concerned about these crowds than those for the Army/Navy game back in the 1960s. This year, over 100 million shoppers are expected to hit the malls and shopping centers in the USA on Black Friday alone and more than 250 million shoppers are expected to venture out to the stores by the end of the weekend. This will result in more than $60 billion to be spent on various purchases in just a matter of three days! These amounts are up from approximately 140 million shoppers and $28 billion in spending just seven short years ago.
Americans do love to shop and these numbers are only expected to increase in future years, making Black Friday a mainstay in American culture. So, whether you are of the type who likes to get out and brave the shopping storm in the wee hours of the morning hunting for bargains or you would rather sleep in and relax in the warmth of your home this Thanksgiving season, GBQ wishes you a happy holiday!
*Thank you to Tobin Perrill, Assurance Staff, for his contributions to this post.