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Why is it called Black Friday?

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“Why is it called Black Friday?” One might say. Most people know Black Friday as the day after Thanksgiving, when stores open early and offer various sales. Apart from that, the volume of shoppers created traffic accidents and sometimes even violence. Considering these, police created the term “Black Friday” describing the mayhem along with the congestion and overcrowding. Police officers in the city weren't able to take the day off work and instead had to work long shifts to control the carnage.

The term "Black Friday" was actually first associated with financial crisis, not sales shopping. According to some stories, two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove up the price of gold and caused a crash that day, resulting in a 20% stock market drop and foreign trade stopped. Farmers also suffered a 50% dip in wheat and corn harvest value. It also left Wall Street barons bankrupt.

Apart from that, the history of Black Friday revealed it was a busy shopping day long before it got its name. In the 1950s, people began calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving to give themselves a four-day weekend. Since a lot of the stores were open, a lot of people got a head start on holiday shopping.

When Black Friday became a positive name

Because of the holiday’s negative connotation, a lot of retailers weren’t happy about it. They actually have a good point though, as to why the retailers don’t appreciate it. The media used it to describe stock market crashes. Black Monday, for example, was a term coined by journalists regarding the fall of Dow Jones Industrial Average on October 19, 1987. It was the largest percentage drop on one day in stock market history. Apart from that, Black Thursday, which occurred on October 24, 1929, was the day that signaled the start of the Great Depression. It was then followed the next week by Black Tuesday wherein the stock market lost 11% despite attempts by major investors to support stock prices.

Retailers decided to make the name positive since the Friday after Thanksgiving was one of the most profitable days of the year, accountants used black to signify profit when recording each day's book entries and red to indicate loss. So, Black Friday means profitable Friday to retailing and to the economy. Retailers adopted the name, but this time to reflect their success, and to encourage more people to shop. They offered discounts only available on that day. But even if the retailers successfully made the name positive, Black Friday crowds still give a lot of authorities headaches, and this is because of the reported violence from holiday sale shopping resulting in deaths and injuries. It has become so bad that the authorities should have named it “Black-eye Friday”.

Bottom line is, retailers wanted to make the holiday appear positive. But shoppers, intent on getting good deals, have turned it into Black-Eye Friday. At the end of the day, shoppers should weigh the rewards of saving money with the risk of getting hurt.