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The day called Black Friday

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If you are anything like me, you have made a list of things since July to get on Black Friday at crazy good discounts. I mean who does not like a bargain? With my e-cart overflowing with goodies, I find myself unaware of the origins of this day which is internationally earmarked for sales. 

Black Friday

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Thursday, has long served as a sale to kick off the holiday season in the US. While it is often believed that the Friday sale was started by retailers to clear inventory, it is believed that it actually originated from Philadelphia Police Officers. Sometime in the 1960s, the officers noticed a great influx of tourists on the streets to shop the day after Thanksgiving causing traffic jams and accidents. 

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There is also an apocryphal notion that stores before this day operate “in the red” (meaning at a loss) and after the sales make their first profit and go “in the black”.

Image Source: BBC
Modern Black Friday

But the story becomes further interesting; the term Black Friday, though used by Philadelphia cops, was not actually coined by them. The first recorded use of the term took place over a century ago and in fact had nothing to with shopping or sale. 

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The term Black Friday was used to describe two American Wall Street financiers Jay Gould and Jim Fisk. The pair bought a large chunk of the nation’s gold to drive up the prices. However, the bankers were not able to sell the gold till late Friday in September of 1869. This led the stock market to a rapid decline and bankrupted many-a millionaires of Wall Street. And so, the pair and the day became synonymous with Black Friday. 

Black Friday goes International 

The craze of this sale has trailed its way into many countries across our globe. It is observed in Canada, the U.K., South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and of course India. And over time, the sale has spread and usurped more discount shopping days. The weekend after Thanksgiving is celebrated as Small Business Saturday/Sunday which is followed by Cyber Monday. 

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