Fact vs. Fantasy: Black Friday


Stan Honda

Hundreds wait to get in on the Black Friday deals.

There are many myths surrounding the origins of Black Friday, an event that involves stores discounting their products to insanely low prices. The beginning of Black Friday have been rumored to be linked to some of America’s darkest times, but these stories are indeed false. Black Friday can actually be traced back to the 1950s in Philadelphia. Police were prevented from taking the day after Thanksgiving off and had to work extra long shifts due to an influx of tourists coming in for the Army vs Navy football game. The stores in Philadelphia would also discount many of their products in order to attract the tourists with the stores’ exceptional sales. The Philadelphia Police started referring to this day as “Black Friday” and the name became more frequently used in the 1960s.

Retailers would use the term “Black Friday” to describe their elevated sales the day after Thanksgiving because they measured their sales with two colors: red and black.  Operating in the red meant that a store was doing poorly, using the color to represent negative sales. To keep their stores in the positive or in the black, stores would use the Friday after Thanksgiving as a day of sales to entice shoppers to buy more. This process then contributed to the birth of “Black Friday” to represent the fateful day where department stores’ sales would increase and return to the positive.

Even with the addition of Cyber Monday, Black Friday has remained a prominent event for many people. But why do people go shopping on Black Friday?



“It’s more of a social thing than a shopping thing,” English Teacher Michael Fox said. Fox also mentioned how his daughter spends the day shopping with friends, which is the same reason he suspects most people shop.


Librarian Christine Heaton agrees with Fox. “Black Friday preys on people’s sense of urgency,” said Heaton. As people feel rushed to get their holiday shopping done before the last minute, stores  put huge emphasis on their deals and how people should get to their store early so they can get in on them. This is demonstrated by the crowds that gather outside department stores and malls before they even open their doors. Logan Fendt ‘17 said that in his hometown in Virginia, policemen in riot gear would stand outside his local Walmart in order to keep the mob of shoppers from breaking into the store before it opened.

Contrary to popular belief, there have been only seven recorded deaths caused by Black Friday. Scenes of violence and tramplings may be shown on the news, but most people do not get injured. According to statistics from past Black Fridays, 98 injuries have occurred.  Only one of the seven people that died were trampled to death, and another one died because of a heart attack.  Last year, no one was hurt or killed during the shopping holiday. The other deaths occurred on the way home from Black Friday, due to lack of sleep and falling asleep at the wheel. A way to avoid getting hurt is to keep an eye on your surroundings and make sure you get a good night’s sleep before heading out on a full day of shopping.


One of the most chaotic annual events in America will be taking place this year on November 25. The only question is: who is brave enough to take the risk just for the deals?

Do YOU go Black Friday shopping?