Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since the early 2000’s, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US, and most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not an official holiday.
United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Romania,India, Australia, Brazil, France, etc.
Day after U.S. Thanksgiving
Once every year
Origin of the term
“Black Friday” as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where in the United States it was associated with a financial crisis of 1869.
The earliest known usage of “Black Friday” as a post-Thanksgiving shopping day appears in December 1, 1961 issue of The Shortsville-Manchester Enterprise (Shortsville, New York). This article, discovered by Barry Popik, refers to a usage by police in Rochester, New York.
Kathie Caulkin, our intrepid advertising manager, made a serious mistake in judgment last Friday. Took her three kids to Rochester on the day all city police call “Black Friday.” Besides being the day after Thanksgiving—thus one of the busiest shopping days in the year—bus drivers were still on strike, adding to automotive traffic. Katie reports she waited through 13 changes of a single traffic light—then had to back up to get into the parking garage. “I didn’t care if I crumpled fifty fenders at that point,” Katie reports.
Violence and chaos
Despite frequent attempts to control the crowds of shoppers, minor injuries are common among the crowds, usually as a result of being pushed or thrown to the ground in smallstampedes. While most injuries remain minor, serious injuries and even deliberate violence have taken place on some Black Fridays.
In 2006, a man shopping at Best Buy was recorded on video assaulting another shopper.
In 2008, a crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, waited outside for the 5:00 am opening of the local Wal-Mart. As opening time approached, the crowd grew anxious and when the doors were opened the crowd pushed forward, breaking the door down, and trampling a 34-year-old employee to death. The shoppers did not appear concerned with the victim’s fate, expressing refusal to halt their stampede when other employees attempted to intervene and help the injured employee, complaining that they had been waiting in the cold and were not willing to wait any longer. Shoppers had begun assembling as early as 9:00 PM the evening before.
On Black Friday 2012, two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida during a dispute over a parking space.
On Black Friday in 2013, a person in Las Vegas who was carrying a big-screen TV home from a Target store on Thanksgiving was shot in the leg as he tried to wrestle the item back from a robber who had just stolen it from him at gunpoint.
The sale day has caused a number of controversies over various practices:
Making unreasonable demands on staff, including requiring them to work often long shifts, during Thanksgiving.
Health and safety risks due to insufficient staff for crowd management.
Selling “derivative” products manufactured just for Black Friday with lower specifications.
Many employees are left with no choice but to work. (work on Thanksgiving/Black Friday or be terminated)