The History of Black Friday

Catherine Telicki, Author

Black Friday is one of the most popular shopping days of the year. And for some people, it’s an important part of their Thanksgiving tradition. Tons of people flood stores every year to buy gifts at the best deals.

Many people may think that the term “Black Friday” represented how stores were “in the black” after how much they sold. But according to, it was actually used to describe the traffic and chaos that ensued every friday after Thanksgiving in anticipation of the Army-Navy football game in the 1950s. In Philadelphia, police officers were not allowed to take the day off and had to work long and extra shifts to deal with the crowds. 

By 1961, the name had stuck, but it didn’t reach the rest of the country until around 1985. In Philadelphia, the city merchants and boosters tried to change the name to “Big Friday” to make it more positive, but the name didn’t catch on.

So, retailers turned the term around to reflect more positively on them and their customers. Black Friday is now known as a holiday that helps stores make more money. Black Friday inspired other shopping holidays like Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday and Sunday. 

But Black Friday can be very dangerous. And in some rare cases, fatal. There have been 117 recorded injuries and 12 recorded deaths since Black Friday has become popular. 

Walmart is actually recorded in the data analysis site Silk as the most dangerous place to shop on Black Friday. 66 percent of injuries that have been recorded have been recorded in a Walmart store. One woman once pepper sprayed 20 people in Walmart and a Walmart employee has even died during Black Friday in 2008.

People have also been pepper sprayed, stabbed and even shot by other customers just because of the last big screen T.V. 

Cyber Monday has become even more popular, and many shoppers are opting to do their gift-buying online to avoid the crowds. Cyber Monday was created by retailers to invite more people to shop online. According to, it was actually just invented in 2005. 

The online holiday was named Cyber Monday because the internet was once referred to as “cyberspace” and it was decided to be on a Monday rather than a Saturday because most adults like to shop while they’re at work. 

As stated in, some stores are starting to open their stores early on Thanksgiving, or are starting sales early in the month to give shoppers more time to buy and search for what they need. Their goal is calm shoppers down and prevent injuries on Black Friday.

So, if you’re planning on going Black Friday shopping, try to do some shopping earlier, or try shopping online.