Why Is It Called ‘’Black Friday’’?

Consumer Knowledge

As the 2017 black Friday closes in, Nigeria consumers takes a close look at the origin of this strange but rewarding tradition. Rewarding, for both the retailer and the shopper.

Black Friday is a common mantra amongst sellers and buyers. It is the day when sellers offer mouthwatering price slashes and deals to their customers. Expectably, and in response to these attractive offers, buyers troop out in numbers to take advantage of these deals. According to Wikipedia, most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales to keep up with the customers. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, signaling the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Have You Ever Wondered Why it is called “Black Friday”?

Historians believe the name started in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s. Bus drivers and police used “Black Friday” to describe the heavy traffic that would clog city streets the day after Thanksgiving as shoppers headed to the stores. It is derisive term used by Philadelphia police, who had to deal with the mayhem and headaches caused by all the extra pedestrian and vehicular traffic created by hordes of shoppers.

In the early 1980s, a more positive explanation of the name began to circulate. According to this alternative explanation, Black Friday is the day when retailers finally begin to turn a profit for the year. In accounting terms, operating at a loss is referred to as being “in the red” because accountants traditionally used red ink to show negative amounts (losses). However, positive amounts (profits) were usually shown in black ink. Hence the name ‘’Black Friday’’.

Another explanation posits that the use of “Black Friday” in such a context stems from 1951 and referred to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving in order to have four consecutive days off (because that day was not yet commonly offered as a paid day off by employers).

A rather controversial explanation to the origin of the name is that, the use of “Black Friday” has to do with the selling of slaves the day after thanksgiving. However, several scholars have refuted this explanation, claiming that the term didn’t originate until nearly a century after the practice of slavery was abolished in the U.S.

Regardless of how the name came to be, it’s clear that Black Friday is a very important day for both traders and shoppers. For some shoppers, it’s one day they are willing to spend beyond their usual budget. For some traders also, it’s a day they definitely make bigger-than-usual profits.


  • Wonderopolis
  • Snopes
  • Wikipedia
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