Black Friday or Big Friday?

  • As the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving Day, we are within hours of being overwhelmed and 'consumed' by Black Friday.

    According to Wikipedia, the first use of the term dates back to the 19th century and the financial crisis of 1869. However, its relationship to shopping the day after Thanksgiving appeared in a public relations newsletter from 1961 and its negative implications.

    When the topic was discussed between Philadelphia merchants and Abe S. Rosen, the Deputy City Representative and a highly experienced municipal PR executive, he recommended that what the police refered to as Black Friday and Black Saturday be changed to Big Friday and Big Saturday.

    By 1966, it remained clear that at least Black Friday had stuck and that it officially marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. To the police department of Philadelphia, it was not seen in a positive light, but rather as causing all sorts of challenges for them.

    In accounting terms, retailers were traditionally seen as operating at a financial loss or 'in the red' from January through November. So, Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season allowed them to earn the year's profits or be 'in the black'.

    Would the whole spectacle be perceived any differently if it became known as Big Friday instead of Black Friday, or is the name so deeply entrenched in the mind of shoppers that it would just create confusion?

    Regardless of what your answer is, today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. It is a day of coming together, sharing and giving thanks for what really matters to each of us.

    Who knows what tomorrow will bring.