10 Things You Didn't Know About Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is one of the year's busiest shopping days.

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The day after Thanksgiving is one of the year's busiest shopping days

1. Early uses of "Black Friday" were negative, referring in the United States, for example, to a stock market crisis that occurred on Sept. 24, 1869.

2. References to the day after Thanksgiving as "Black Friday" date at least as far back as a 1951 Factory Management and Maintenance article on the topic of worker absences.

3. The term has come to describe the transition of stores from having negative returns ("in the red") to making a profit ("in the black").

4. Though it is not a federal holiday, Black Friday gained popularity for shopping since many employers give their workers the day off.

5. The Monday after Thanksgiving was termed "Cyber Monday" in 2005 after retailers noticed a spike in online sales that day.

6. Stampeding customers at the 5 a.m. opening of a Valley Stream, N.Y., Wal-Mart on Black Friday 2008 trampled a store employee to death. As part of a deal the company made with local prosecutors to avoid criminal charges, all 92 Wal-Marts in New York State are required to implement crowd-management plans this year.

7. In 2008, more than 172 million shoppers visited retail stores during Black Friday weekend, spending an average of $372.57 each.

8. Last year, the three most popular items purchased online on Black Friday were the Nintendo Wii console, the Ugg Australia "Classic Short" boot, and the Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-ray Disc player.

9. In 2008, in-store sales of electronics fell for the first time in Black Friday history.

10. Ninety percent of malls say that this year, their special holiday hours start on Black Friday.

Sources:

  • Associated Content
  • Consumer Reports
  • History.com
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • National Retail Foundation
  • New York Daily News
  • Pricegrabber.com
  • Forbes.com
  • LinguistList.org, University of Eastern Michigan
  • Ben Zimmer, American Dialect Society