By Michał Świerczyński
You are no doubt starting to see the signs everywhere – Black Friday sales! Big savings! This infamous day has become a worldwide retail feature, but do you know what black Friday actually means and where it comes from?
Not as dark as it sounds
Black Friday sounds like a commemorative day for some dark event in history, but it is actually a much happier thing than that. The “black” in Black Friday comes from the English phrase “in the black”. Traditionally, accountants used to record debts in red and profits in black, so when companies were “in the black” they had become profitable.
When does it occur?
Black Friday got its name in America for the shopping day that most retailers across the nation found themselves “in the black” for the first time. Sales after that point were considered pure profit, and as it is at the beginning of the big holiday season, it was a very important retail marker.
Why does it move?
This can definitely be confusing to people who are outside of the United States. The day is tied to the American Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. The Friday following the holiday is considered the nation’s biggest shopping day of the year and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Because the fourth Thursday moves around, so does Black Friday.
This year the United States’ Thanksgiving is on November 28, almost as late as it can possibly be, so Black Friday is also very late. For this reason you will see a lot of retail talk about a “sorter holiday shopping season” and efforts to get people to shop early. Let’s hope these efforts are successful and we all have a black holiday season!