When you hear the words “Black Friday” what comes to mind? It probably depends on which generation you were born.

In the 1800s it referred to the stock market crash caused by Jay Gould and James Fisk, both Wall Street financiers. They tried to run up the gold market on the New York Stock Exchange. Together they purchased as much of the nation’s gold as they could afford. Their goal was to drive the price up and then sell to make a huge profit. To put a stop to this, the government flooded the market with gold which forced many people into bankruptcy, including some farmers.

In 1951, the newsletter FACTORY MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE used the term “Black Friday” to describe the large number of production workers who called in sick, with proof they really were sick, on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The newsletter said the factories appeared to be half empty. Were they sick from too much turkey?

In the 1950s, the term was used in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to describe the chaos in the city prior to the big Army-Navy football game held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. With the influx of shoppers and tourists, the police department had their hands full caused by the additional traffic and activities, including an increase in shoplifters.

In the late 1980s, retailers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, decided to make the term “Black Friday” into a positive and advertised it as a big shopping day to start the holiday season. It worked and eventually the one-day shoppers dream day turned into a four-day shoppers paradise.

Since the 2000s, the term “Black Friday” has been associated with the biggest shopping day of the year for the entire United States. Because so many Canadians were traveling across the border to take advantage of “Black Friday” shopping deals, Canadian retailers are now offering their own “Black Friday” deals. As shopping on the day after Thanksgiving deals grew, so did the hours retail stores decided to open their doors. It seems each year the hours get earlier and earlier. Some now welcome shoppers at midnight. They entice these early morning shoppers with limited numbers of highly desired products for great prices!

A new word has entered the shopping scene and that is “Grey Thursday.” Retail stores that were closed on Thanksgiving Day are now open. Many retailers hope to get the female shoppers into their stores during the hours the male population is watching the traditional football games on television. This also offers those who work on “Black Friday” a shopping day. Following the traditions of “Black Friday,” there are great deals in limited quantities available to whomever finds them first.

With so much shopping being done online today, retailers are offering great deals through their online shopping stores. Many deals are only available at certain hours and until a certain quantity has been sold.

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