Why Black Friday is Called Black Friday


Fri, Nov 23rd, 2012 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Bloomberg Businessweek's myth-busting John Tozzi explains that while Black Friday originally referred to "the market crash of Sept. 24, 1869," it has nothing at to do with retailers ending "an 11-month stretch of red ink and harvest profits for the first time all year." As Tozzi explains in his article:

In fact, factory owners in the 1950s first coined Black Friday to lament the high number of workers who wouldn’t show up for work, as linguist Ben Zimmer pointed out last year. The connection between Black Friday, crowds, and shopping came in the early 1960s from some Philadelphia cops, he explained. They used the phrase to describe the mad traffic downtown on the day holiday shoppers converged with football fans arriving for the Army-Navy game, traditionally played in Philly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The name Black Friday, picked up by the press, presented a branding problem from the start. Zimmer quotes a 1961 story from Public Relations News that called the label “hardly a stimulus for good business,” and notes city spinmeister Abe Rosen’s efforts to replace it with the anodyne “Big Friday.” The Philadelphia newspapers refused, and Black Friday stuck.



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