The history of Black Friday is rather equivocal. Not in that it is deceitful by any means, but more or less that no one truly knows what *sparked* Black Friday as a nationally recognized date. In New Mexico, the day after Thanksgiving is a state holiday. They gave it the official title of “Presidents’ Day” as the state government honors the US Presidents’ on the day after Thanksgiving rather than the traditional 3rd Monday in February when the federal government does Presidents’ Day. Apparently they are not fond of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. This makes absolutely no sense to me, although I haven’t tried researching it yet, which may be a solid first step. More on that later.
For some reason, Black Friday itself as a phenomenon has many references to Philadelphia. It’s use as a term has been widespread, the earliest of which associated it with a financial crisis in 1869. A statement made by Trevor McWanda of the American Dialect Society in a 1966 publication on the day’s significance was printed in the city of brotherly love, and acknowledged it as a crisis. In 1975, the term began to gain even more traction after two papers (one in Philly, the Titusville Herald) cited the term on the same day. But what does the name mean?
A common belief is that “back in the day”, (which was a Wednesday, by the way) when archaic pens, paper and ink were used for bookkeeping, (oh, the humanity!) red ink was used for subtractions and negative values, and black ink for positive. The idea that links these two thoughts together is that most companies would operate “in the red” most of the year, and hit “the black” or make their yearly profits starting the day after Thanksgiving. This makes sense practically, but seems to be either a relational white lie or a subjugated misnomer.
Of course, everyone is familiar with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which oddly enough has it’s origins in Christmas, and not Thanksgiving Day at all, really… except that the day the parade is on. It was originally the Macy’s Christmas Parade and later the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade. Safe to say that although it’s name has changed, it signifies the same thing: The first shopping day of the Christmas season.
All in all, we should just be thankful for the amazing deals. Spotted and slightly unknown history aside, this day is full of great value for everyone. It benefits consumers and businesses alike, but we take it a little differently here at Vann’s. You can still expect great deals, sure, but we’ve got them all month long.
Which brings me to my next point: why wade through huge lines at 4:00 AM and get trampled? Have your morning coffee, read that paper. We open at 8:00 AM sharp. See you Friday!