Black Friday is an informal name in the United States for the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, observed on the fourth Thursday of November.
Since 1952, the day after Thanksgiving has been used as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States, but the word “Black Friday” has not been commonly used until more recent decades.
Some stores on Black Friday provide highly advertised sales and open very early, such as at midnight, or may even begin their sales on Thanksgiving at some time.
Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and several other states observe “The Day After Thanksgiving” as a break for state government employees, often instead of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day.
Many non-retail workers and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, making it a four-day weekend along with the following normal weekend, thereby raising the number of potential shoppers.
Around this time, similar stories resurface year after year, depicting panic and supply shortages, generating a constructive state of feedback.
In 2014, the amount of spending on Black Friday dropped for the first time since the recession of 2008. During the four-day Black Friday weekend, $50.9 billion was spent, down 11 percent from the previous year.
The U.S. economy wasn’t in a recession though. Christmas creep has been cited as a factor in Black Friday’s decreasing value, as many retailers are now spreading their deals over the months of November and December instead of concentrating on a single shopping day or weekend.
The earliest documentation of the Black Friday word used in a retail sense to the day after Thanksgiving indicates that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and destructive foot and vehicular traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.
The usage dates back to at least 1961. More than twenty years later, as the term became more common, it became a popular explanation that this day marked the point in the year when retailers start making a profit, going from being “in the red” to being “in the black”
It was normal for stores to open at 6:00 a.m. for many years but many had drifted to 5:00 or 4:00 in the late 2000s. This was taken to a new utmost in 2011 when for the first time at nighttime a number of retailers (including Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Bealls) opened.
In 2012, Walmart and various other retailers declared that most of their stores would open at 8:00 p.mThanksgiving Day, causing some staff to call for a walkout.
Stores including JCPenney, Best Buy, and Radio Shack opened at 5:00 p.m. in 2014. Thanksgiving Day with shops including Target, Walmart, Belk, and Sears starting at 6 p.m. On the day of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving, because of what opponents call blue laws. The Massachusetts ban on requiring workers to work on major holidays is not a “blue law” motivated by religion but part of the state’s General Day of Rest Law.
A bill requiring the opening of stores on Thanksgiving Day was the subject of a public hearing on 8 July 2017.
This Black Friday, there were stories of violence happening amongst shoppers. In all of the United States, there have been 12 reported deaths and 117 injuries since 2006.
It’s popular for prospective shoppers to camp out over the Thanksgiving holiday in an effort to secure a spot in front of the line and therefore a better chance to get desired items.
It presents a major safety danger, such as in the most complex cases using propane and generators and, in general, blocking emergency access and fire roads, prompting at least one town to prohibit the activity.
Environmentalists cite another adverse factor: discount sales inspire consumers to purchase products that they don’t need, and this overproduction leads to climate change.
There have been attempts by retailers with US origins to introduce a retail “Black Friday” to other countries around the world since the beginning of the 21st century. Regional stores in a variety of countries have sought to encourage the day to stay competitive with online retailers based in the US.