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The Philadelphia Police Department Gives Black Friday its Name


30% of the US’s annual retail sales occur in the holiday season. It’s estimated that $717.5 billion will be spent this season alone. And of course, the “holiday” that kicks it all off… Black Friday.

But what is the history of Black Friday, and who are the marketing geniuses behind its creation? Well, technically it was the Philadelphia Police Department.

In the 1950’s, the most popular day for people calling out sick from work was the day after Thanksgiving. Making claims of bad turkey, people would play hookie to get a head start on their holiday shopping. Aware of this, many businesses threw up their hands and gave employees that day as an additional paid day off. (Hey, maybe there’s hope that our jobs will finally declare “Super Sick Monday” a paid holiday! But I digress…)

By 1966, traffic was so terrible from all of the holiday shoppers, the Philadelphia Police Department referred to the mess by calling it, “Black Friday.” That year, The American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine, published an ad describing the PPD story, and so Black Friday was born.

Since then, countries across the world have jumped on board with this marketing gold mine, each giving the holiday a little cultural flair of their own.

Check out this great infographic on Black Friday statistics all around the world by Day Translations:


Black friday in numbers

About the author:

Ciara Boyce is a content writer at Day Translations. Ciara has a passion for uniting cultures across the world. She loves to encourage people through both the spoken and written word, and starts every morning motivating others with daily affirmations via @inrawlife on Instagram.

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