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Paula Pant

Where Does the Phrase "Black Friday" Come From?

By November 21, 2012

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Have you ever wondered where the phrase "Black Friday" comes from?

The phrase "Black Friday" was coined about 50 years ago by policemen in Philadelphia who were frustrated by the traffic problems they encountered on the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers flocked to stores, according to Salt Lake City newspaper The Desert News.

Retailers didn't like the negative term and tried to re-brand it "Big Friday." But the name stuck. After a few decades it spread to other cities, and by the 1980's the term had become a national phrase. Retailers eventually embraced "Black Friday" and re-branded the origin of the word, claiming that "Black Friday" accurately describes the day of the year that their store's income converts from "in the red" (a net loss) to "in the black" (a net gain).

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