Out of the seven days, former president Abraham Lincoln designated Thursday to be the Thanksgiving Day in the 19th century. A day after Thanksgiving, people ideally went to shop for the upcoming holidays like Christmas and New Years. Dealing with heavy road traffic and chaotic pedestrians, a day after Thanksgiving, the Philadelphia police department coined the term ‘Black Friday’ in 1961. A magazine took notice and published the term which, 20 years later, caught on with the retailers.
The day after Thanksgiving was put under the microscope by the retailers as they observed it was the day they earned the maximum profit. But the term ‘black’ was usually used in connotation with something negative like ‘Black Thursday’ denotes the Great Depression and ‘Black Monday’ denotes when the stock market witnessed the largest percentage drop in the history of stock market.
Contrary to the meaning attached with the term ‘black’, retailers viewed it as their most profitable day and, therefore, decided to retain the name but in a positive light. Accountants record their profits in black and losses in red, therefore, Black Friday became the day to reflect the success of retailing and economy.
Anticipating immense profit, retailers began to open their stores as early as 6 a.m. and in 2011 Black Friday reached another level when stores were open at midnight. And the trend to open stores early was picked up quick. People started to gather around the stores and camped out waiting for them to open and no matter what time the shutters went up, they remained flooded with people the entire day.
There have been times when situations have gone out of hand when people are injured in a stampede. In 2008, a temporary worker was even trampled to death in 2008, the New York Times reported.
Several online shopping portals celebrate Black Friday and offer sales and discounts on products for certain hours or days like Amazon Black Friday 2017 sale started at midnight November 24 and Amazon India too is hosting the day for its Global Store for India users. Amazon says it will offer up to 40 per cent off on some international brands.