What’s the History of Black Friday?

Today, consumers know Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year. However, the term dates back more than 150 years, when the financier Jay Gould tried to corner the gold market. The result was a market collapse. More recently, employers began referring to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because many workers called in sick to enjoy a four-day weekend. These days, it is still not an official holiday, but many employers give their employees the day off. That’s not the case for retail workers, who are ready to serve crowds of holiday shoppers.

The Philadelphia Story

The modern-day usage of Black Friday began in Philadelphia in the 1950s. The Philly police coined the phrase, referring to the heavy traffic on Friday as shoppers began searching for holiday gifts and fans headed to the Army-Navy football game. It was not a holiday for the police, who worked overtime to control the crowds and traffic. While Philly department stores co-opted the name, calling it Big Friday, it didn’t catch on at the time. Thirty years later, it did. 

The 1980s and Beyond

It wasn’t until the late 1980s that “Black Friday” meant post-Thanksgiving holiday specials. Retailers turned the day into a sales extravaganza, and the public came in droves. Stores started opening in the early morning and were packed before the sun came up. Shoppers carefully mapped out plans to hit their favorite stores offering the best deals and prices.

Soon, Black Friday started on Thanksgiving night, with customers leaving the Thanksgiving table to head out for bargains. That didn’t sit well with many members of the public, let alone retail employees. While some stores still offer Thanksgiving night sales, some have cut back. The pandemic changed the way we shop. So whether Thanksgiving night sales will remain, we’ll have to wait and see.    

You know all those other retail holidays, such as Small Business Saturday? They are all rooted in the history of Black Friday.

Black Friday Online

The internet didn’t exist in the 1980s, but online Black Friday sales followed as soon as it became a force. Why rush out to the mall and fight the traffic–and sometimes other patrons–when you can order from the privacy of your own home? Online and in-store customers find fabulous deals, with some items priced so low that retailers won’t make a profit on those products. That’s fine because these doorbusters are designed to get customers shopping, and stores make plenty of money on other purchases. 

Black Friday 2022 Gift Delivery

Take advantage of Proflowers’ Black Friday flowers and gift delivery to score great deals. With stunning bouquets and floral arrangements available at a discount, you’ll also find a wide selection of gift baskets that will please anyone on your holiday list. From gourmet gifts, relaxing spa offerings, plants, and more, Proflowers is your go-to site for Black Friday holiday shopping!