Why It's Called Black Friday (And It Actually Doesn't Have To Do With "Going In The Black")

Thanksgiving is America's oldest holiday — older than the country itself, even. And while oft-repeated storybook origins of the holiday most definitely didn't happen in the everybody-kumbaya way we like to tell it, the holiday is one that celebrates togetherness and gratitude in a truly explicit way. However, in recent decades, Thanksgiving is increasingly known as the day right before the more profitable, headline-making, bigger cash-cow of American holidays: Black Friday.

The spending around Thanksgiving is far overshadowed by the amount of money consumers spend on Black Friday, and the day has proven to be so important to retailers that it's been exported to countries worldwide. If Thanksgiving is about appreciating what you already have, then Black Friday is about fixing what you don't have yet — which is arguably the most American idea, ever.

Take a look below at how Black Friday breaks down, the truth behind its name (the first couple instances it was used actually had nothing to do with retailers going "in the black"), the amount of money it generates, and the human costs we pay for doorbusters, BOGO deals, and holiday discounts.
Designed by Elliot Salazar.
Advertisement

More from Fashion

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.