Frank Woolworth (1852 -1919) is considered to be the originator of Black Friday (many years before it appeared). It was he who in the late 19th century invented sales.

In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a taciturn backwoods boy got a job as a clerk’s assistant in a small store, where he suffered greatly from the fact that he couldn’t jack up prices. In those days there were no price tags in stores, and salesmen had to find out their customers’ ability to pay and then set their prices. Poor Woolworth suffered greatly from this obligation, and one day, when the head clerk was away, he took a desperate step.

Frank dumped all the seasonal merchandise on the counter and put a sign next to it that said, “All for five cents”. That was the first sale!

Woolworth first sale

On the wave of commercial success, Frank Woolworth created the largest retail chain of the early twentieth century. Woolworth’s stores were the progenitors of modern supermarkets and discounters.

By setting constant and “sale prices,” retailers quickly realized that they made the most profit before Christmas when people were buying gifts. Hence the tradition of having the biggest sales right after Thanksgiving (November 24), giving shoppers a whole month to make their purchases (and, of course, to have them delivered).

How the name ‘Black Friday’ has appeared

In 1951, the magazine Factory Management and Maintenance noticed an interesting trend: after Thanksgiving, many workers took time off for health reasons, but in fact in this way they wanted a four-day mini-vacation – probably to go shopping in peace and search for bargains.

Around the same time, the expression “Black Friday” began to be used by police officers in Philadelphia, shocked by the unreal traffic jams that occurred every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Finally, there is another version, according to which the day is called Black Friday because, in American accounting, losses are marked in red and profits in black. You can guess for yourself that the Friday after Thanksgiving is one of the most profitable periods of the year.

In 1966, the expression “Black Friday” finally took hold on the East Coast of the United States and came to mean a very short, almost magical time when retailers set the biggest discounts on their stuff.


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