Home > Musings on Life in General > Who Put the Black in Black Friday?

Who Put the Black in Black Friday?

That title sounds like the start of a silly song.

“Who put the ‘Black’ in Black Friday?
Grab stuff before it’s all gone. (dum dum dum dum dum)
Don’t be a snivelling cry-baby,
Crash through the queues and be strong!”

The first I really heard about Black Friday was a couple of years ago via Amazon UK’s Black Friday deals. For a while that’s all we had, but this year one of the “Big Four” supermarkets decided to bring Black Friday to the UK! Yes, it has made its way across “The Pond” and reached our happy shore.

Within mere moments the full glory of Black Friday became a reality. There were massive queues, pushing, shoving, fights and a “suspected broken arm”. I feel like the UK has finally “arrived”! No longer will we be regarded as a nation of polite queuers. We can rip each other apart with the best of them! Woohoo!

Black Friday Crowd

Oh me oh my. This is like my worst nightmare made flesh.
(Picture from newnownext.com.)

Apparently this all started in the early sixties in Philadelphia, USA and in the early 2000’s had become quite the shopping day. Shops began opening earlier and earlier until ultimately in 2011 they began to open at midnight. There are a couple of theories on the origin of the term “Black” – one of which being that it is the first day of the year when retailers go “into the black”. However, the earliest usage seems to suggest that it was coined by police, bus drivers and cabbies in Philadelphia in the sixties, referring to the awful traffic jams on that day. (Information from Wikipedia – so it must be true!)

Obviously, on an ordinary shopping day in England, a conversation might go something like this:

“Oh, I say, the latest toy! I shall just reach across and…”
“Excuse me, old bean, but I do believe I saw that first!”
“Oh, do excuse me, old chap. Please, you take it.”
“Awfully decent of you, dear fellow.”

On Friday it was more like this:

“Yes, that’s the one, giz ‘ere!”
“Oy, I saw it first! Get off it!”
“Finders keepers, be-atch!”
“You slaaaaaag!”
(Fisticuffs begin)

What was the object of this little fight I wonder?


Could it have been this frankly quite hideous little dude?
(Picture from amazon.co.uk)

Something about a single day of massive bargains seems to destroy all civilised thought. If people act like this over a cut-price TV or the last of the Furbies, I dread to think what might happen if some future disaster destroys the world’s food supply and people are queuing up to buy the last tin of baked beans on the planet.

So what is the real origin of the “Black” in Black Friday? That it brings out the blacker side of some people’s nature?

(I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the woman I met across a shelf of cut-price television sets. I’m sure that your arm will heal in no time, and I have no doubt that modern medical science will have no trouble re-attaching your ear.)*

*This never really happened!**

**OR DID IT?!?!

Black Friday

How did your Black Friday go? Did you hide away, or did you grab some cool bargains? A cut-price Furby perhaps? Did you camp out or shop online? Let me know!

  1. December 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I’m proud to be an American bringing a new level of culture and civility to the world.


    • December 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      And guess which supermarket brought Black Friday to the UK this year? ASDA. Which is a subsidiary of… anyone? anyone? I’ll give you a clue. Starts with “Wal”, ends with “mart”.


      • December 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm

        Ha! I was going to ask if it was Asda that did it! What a shocker….


        • December 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          Maybe not such a great idea, but now that the door is opened I doubt it will ever again close. Yet another day I’ll have to remember to hide away like a fraidy-cat 🙂


      • December 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        I avoid Walmart until I need something they have. But hey, you Brits brought the world opium, political unrest, racism and colonization so don’t feel you haven’t made a contribution. The good ole East India Company can go head-to-head with Walmart for spreading civilization for its own profit. God bless Capitalism! It rules!


        • December 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm

          Yay, go team UK!
          We lost our way a bit in the middle there or we would have had Black Friday first, oh yes 🙂


          • December 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

            You guys invented exploitation. We are merely your most sincere fans 🙂


    • I Am Jasmine Kyle
      December 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm



  2. merbear74
    December 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    This was a wonderful read…I stayed my happy arse home.


    • December 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Very wise. I was at work.
      I don’t know how they sorted out the opening time as the shop involved is open 24 hours, but I’m sure I was asleep when the sale started!


  3. December 2, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Welcome UK to our madness. This year Black Friday began at 8:00 PM Thursday, Thanksgiving, at many Walmarts, Macys and a few others.
    I never would want anything so badly to sleep in a tent for a week to be first in line. Many did that at Best Buy.


    • December 2, 2013 at 7:25 am

      So they’re not even waiting for Friday any more!
      I wouldn’t queue for hours or camp out either – I consider my time to be worth more than the discount I’m likely to get, if I were to even get the product I wanted.
      I guess some people see it as an adventure.


  4. December 2, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Oh my gosh, you’re so right about comparing it to what would happen if we had some dystopian shut down– that is terrifying!!!


    • December 2, 2013 at 7:28 am

      Well, I think someone did say something about a country only being two or three meals away from revolution/anarchy (I suppose I could look up the quote but I’m too lazy!).
      It appears we’re also one cut-price Furby away from a fight 😦


      • December 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        Gosh, that’s just so creepy to think about. Makes me want to buy land and start stockpiling furbies in case the zombie apocalypse happens or something.


        • December 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm

          You can never have too many Furbies 🙂
          Maybe they’ll become standard currency in the “new world order”.


  5. I Am Jasmine Kyle
    December 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    You know it’s funny I read blogs all day and this is the FIRST post about Black Friday I have read! I am OUT when it comes to Black Friday AND to shopping on Thanksgiving! I just can’t take advantage of people’s poverty like that. HOw do you feel about the stores opening on Thanksgiving?


    • December 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      I don’t know much about Thanksgiving (I’m British) but it sounds like quite a big holiday.
      On the one hand I think it’s a shame that shops are open, especially since it seems that many people rush down their turkey and then run out to the sales – it ruins the family holiday somewhat I would think.
      On the other hand it is good for those shop workers who actually want to work (or don’t mind working) – either because they’re lonely or because they really need the money.
      If I were in the USA I would prefer to stay at home with family and try to forget the sales are on at all – make the most of the holiday.


      • I Am Jasmine Kyle
        December 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm

        Very kindly put!


        • December 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm

          I’m a real diplomat!
          Actually the problem with me is I can usually see things from both sides. I’m constantly sitting on the fence – it can be annoying for both me and those around me 🙂


          • I Am Jasmine Kyle
            December 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm

            I try to sit on the fence but usually I fall very liberal. I understand people want to work but when you make Nothing an hour it’s hard to justify a day off… Even with over time or holiday pay.


            • December 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm

              A day without pay can mean all the difference, even more so when you’re in a job where you rely on tips to make a decent living wage.


              • I Am Jasmine Kyle
                December 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm

                I hear you but when they give you the extra holiday pay and then cut your hours later on that week or starve you of hours before it’s not really worth it. The trickery with the time sheet to keep people under 40hrs is something any magician would admire!


                • December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

                  That’s really sneaky and nasty. That’s big business the world over – many of them make huge profits but they still treat the workforce badly, confident that when people quit there are plenty waiting to take their place.
                  I’ve even heard of places which sack their workers right before Christmas and then re-hire them afterwards, just so they don’t have to pay them holiday pay over Christmas.


                  • I Am Jasmine Kyle
                    December 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

                    OH my how cruel! Who can deal with this treatment. Its’ so horrific… Bleeding heart…


  6. December 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Black Friday for many is just grab and run. For others it is a sports competition, with strategies, coupons, pre sale store recon visits. They know store layout and the quickest in and out route. Some stores these women will pre-shop by loading a store bag and hiding it in the store. They can pop in, grab bag and on Black Friday morning.
    With the in-store discount, store credit card discount, plus coupons these women save. It’s a game they get better at each year.
    Best Buy campers seem to be young people after expensive electronics. For them it might be the only way they could afford item.
    Just an insight.
    Not me, I’m eating leftovers. I love thanksgiving day naps.


    • December 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      It sounds like quite an adventure for some people! I didn’t realise there was so much planning involved. I expect there’s quite a rush as well when the all the hard work and planning pays off.
      I guess if people really want the stuff and they’re willing to camp out, they really deserve to get it. That sort of thing happens here but usually when there is a huge video game release (like Call of Duty), or a new console (like the Xbox One and PS4 recently).
      As for me, I prefer to relax at home. I can’t stand queues and crowds of people. Even when I visit our nearby teeming metropolis of some 20 thousand people (!), I drive in early to avoid the crowds 🙂


      • December 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

        Most of those women have families to buy for so I assume it’s a big savings for them. I’ve noticed many women who stay home have assorted strategies to save money.
        PS, most of my life I a fence rider, usually seeing both sides.
        If had life to do over I’m not sure it was a good way to live.
        I have personal boundaries but not social ones.


        • December 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm

          I expect they can stock up for the whole family Christmas for a fraction of the cost it would normally be.
          I have heard of people who spend ages finding coupons – the amount of money they save is immense!
          I prefer fence-sitting – it makes things more complicated but at least on occasion I can make a decision based on both sides!


  7. December 5, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Hahahaha my favorites!!
    “Oy, I saw it first! Get off it!”
    “Finders keepers, be-atch!”
    This should be in the little book of Black Friday vocabulary!!
    So funny! 🙂


    • December 5, 2013 at 7:47 am

      There’s an idea – “Black Friday sayings for every occasion”. I could self-publish on Amazon ready for next year 🙂


  8. December 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Isn’t it “who put the bomp in the bomp, bomp, bomp” or something equally as enlightening? I hope that Black Friday never takes off in Australia because in Victoria we acknowledge “Black Saturday”, which is the anniversary of the horrific bushfires in 2009 that destroyed many lives and homes around the Marysville area. The similarity in name for something totally commercial would be awful.


    • December 11, 2013 at 5:39 am

      That would be terrible – I remember seeing the bush fires on the news at the time. Hopefully if something like Black Friday makes its way to Australia it will be called something quite different. Maybe they’ll get a sponsor for it and it will be “Foster’s Friday” or something.


      • December 11, 2013 at 5:47 am

        Oh no you didn’t say that! Fosters is one great beer. I’m not much of a drinker but please don’t be picking on a good beer.


        • December 11, 2013 at 5:51 am

          It’s the only Australian brand which came instantly to mind – which actually says a lot about their advertising strategy!


          • December 11, 2013 at 5:59 am

            I was playing with you. Home buying is killing your funny bone. Cheers!!


            • December 11, 2013 at 6:01 am

              And cheers to you – except it’s only 6am here so not yet quite Fosters time 🙂


      • December 14, 2013 at 6:06 am

        Surely every Friday in Australia is a Foster’s Friday already? (Unless one prefers Carlton Draught.)


        • December 14, 2013 at 8:05 am

          They certainly seem to enjoy a nice cold one on “Neighbours” and “Home and Away” 🙂


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