Known most commonly for its integral role in the American festivity of Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the time of year that signifies the beginning of the festive season. A chance for shoppers to find the best deals for a new TV, perhaps a new wardrobe and most importantly; a cruise!
A gold rush?
Although it seems to be an exciting celebration, Black Friday was a term originating from a darker origin. The first recorded use of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ was applied to the financial crisis on September 24, 1869 – more specifically recognised as the crash of the U.S. gold market. Jim Fisk (an American stockbroker and corporate executive) attempted to buy as much of the nation’s gold as he could in hopes of driving the prices sky-high and sell it for remarkable profits. However, on that Friday, the conspiracy was revealed which sent the stock market into free-fall – bankrupting everyone from Wall Street to farmers.
Gone into the red?
However, what is better recognised today, the story of Black Friday refers to retailers who, after a year of operating at a loss (otherwise known as, ‘in the red’) were predicted to earn a profit (‘went into the black) on the day after Thanksgiving. This is down to holiday shoppers spending vast amounts of money on discounted merchandise. Although proven correct that companies would record losses in red and profit in black when undergoing their accounting – this story indeed proves inaccurate behind the tradition.
And finally, the ugliest of myths to surface refers to the tradition claiming that Southern plantation owners during the 1800s could buy slaves at discounted prices the day after Thanksgiving. This ‘story’ has led many activists to boycott the retail holiday, fortunately, however, this rendition of Black Friday does not base itself on facts.
A football game?
The Army-Navy Game refers to the annual American college football rivalry game; The United States Military Academy (USMA) versus the United States Naval Academy (USNA). In the 1950s, the Philadelphia police department used the term ‘Black Friday’ to describe the chaos and destruction that would occur the day after Thanksgiving, and in advance of the upcoming football game held on the following Saturday every year.
This meant that the Philadelphia police were not only unable to take the day off, but they’d have to work extra-long shifts dealing with overzealous crowds and traffic, shoplifters, looters and violence. In 1961, the ‘Black Friday’ reputation was growing, so in an attempt to remove the negative connotations, retailers tried to change the term to ‘Big Friday’ which proved unsuccessful.
Black Friday today
By the late 1980s, retailers managed to reinvent Black Friday by harnessing the red to black analogy aforementioned. In tern, they also managed to market the day after Thanksgiving as the day when America’s stores finally turn a profit. However, history has proven that stores actually record bigger sales on the Saturday before Christmas.
Since then, this one-day shopping bonanza has evolved into a four-day event consisting of ‘Small Business Saturday/Sunday’ and concluding with ‘Cyber Monday’. Over the years, the most dedicated of shoppers have headed out directly after the Thanksgiving meal and camping outside of stores waiting to be opened!
Now recognised as the biggest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday was originally coined in 2005 by Ellen Davis; senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Federation.
According to Reader’s Digest; “for several years in a row, the NRF had noticed a recurring spike in online revenue and traffic on the Monday following Thanksgiving. They believed it was because people were making purchases from their computers at work, where the Internet connections were faster and their kids couldn’t get a sneak peek at their gifts.”
Ellen Davis originally wanted to call the day, ‘Blue Monday’ after the infamous blue hyperlinks, but sadly that term had previously been used to describe the day the world stock markets crashed, and the latter sounded too depressing.
In 2014, Cyber Monday became the biggest online shopping day in the U.S. raking in over $2 billion in sales with those numbers increasing year on year. Although the champion of the “biggest online shopping day in the world” remains in honour of China’s Single’s Day where shoppers have recorded spending up to $14.3 billion in 24 hours!
Cruise1st deals to look out for!
- £50 OFF sailings from Southampton
- £100 OFF every cruise booking
- £200 off cruise and tour bookings
Make sure to head to our Black Friday Cruise Deals page here to stay up to date with out latest deals this coming Black Friday!
If you see an offer you like, don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly sales people a call today on 0808 2746 777!