‘Black Friday’ is not an endearing term

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where did the phrase “Black Friday” come from?  If this slogan has been used in previous years, I guess it didn’t register with me like it has this year.  To me it sounds very negative and encourages the chaos and frenzy that has occurred on the day after Thanksgiving.  It seems to be such a dark slogan to use for what is supposed to be a happy, festive holiday season.

Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving has become hectic enough with all of the early hours, pushing, shoving, selfishness and greed without describing it as “Black Friday.” Local (as well as national) businesses, radio stations, TV stations, newspapers and print ads have used the slogan and I think it is a disservice.

However, I have also noticed that several businesses have stayed with the traditional “Thanksgiving Holiday Sale” or “After Thanksgiving Sale” in their advertising and this I do appreciate. I’m sure other slogans could be thought of that promote a more upbeat/positive picture of the shopping that goes on the day after Thanksgiving — something like “Festive Friday” or “Holiday Friday” —  still referring to the great holiday buys people are looking for.

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Wouldn’t it be great if Albert Lea would refrain from using the “Black Friday” slogan in conversation and advertising next year and be an example to our kids, our community and other cities (now that we are in the national spotlight)? 

Let’s encourage the use of a positive slogan for the day after Thanksgiving shopping sales for the future.

Joan Kuth

Albert Lea

Editor’s note: The term primarily was used on the East Coast prior to 2000. It originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s, where police officers and bus drivers used the term to describe traffic on the day after Thanksgiving. By the 1970s, it had been adopted by retailers referring to black in accounting jargon as meaning profitable, as opposed to red. It achieved widespread use starting in 2002.