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What is Black Friday?

Flex your shopping muscles for this iconic sale.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Black Friday. But what is it, exactly, and why should you care?

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is one of if not the biggest shopping days of the year, where countless retailers offer amazing deals and doorbusters to kick off the holiday shopping season. The best deals usually hit on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but many retailers have expanded their sales through the whole weekend — and sometimes the entire week after Thanksgiving.

Shop Black Friday sales

Black Friday history

Stampedes. Hair pulling. Outright fistfights.

No, we’re not talking about closing time at your local bar. Black Friday dates back to the 1950s in downtown Philadelphia. Stores were looking for a way to cash in on the city’s annual Army vs. Navy football game, and thus Big Friday was born. For smaller businesses especially, storewide, one-day discounts during this busy day could mean the difference between being in the red and being in the you guessed it black.

Rebranded as Black Friday, the huge sales event now takes up the four days padding Thanksgiving. Sales are so highly anticipated that people line up in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes pitching tents overnight all to score a sweet deal.

But why is it called Black Friday?

Many think the name refers to how retailers operate at a loss, or in the red, from January to November. The massive spike in profits as people shop for Christmas deals helps push profits up, putting retailers in the black.

But the name actually dates to 1950s Philadelphia, when it was used to describe the disruptive swarms of people hitting the streets in search of a bargain.

Is Black Friday worth it?

Black Friday sales offer some of the biggest discounts of the year. So if you’re shopping for a big-ticket item or something specific, partaking in this iconic shopping event could absolutely be worth it for your wallet. But be wary of buying things that you wouldn’t otherwise just because they’re marked down you might end up spending a whole lot more than you bargained for.

Of course, it’ll also depend on which stores you’re shopping during Black Friday. Some offer unbelievable discounts, while others like Apple hardly budge on price at all.

The bottom line is that Black Friday gives you the opportunity to find high-end pieces at low-end prices. With a little research and a hard-and-fast shopping list, you can land yourself some great deals right before Christmas.

How does Black Friday work?

Black Friday is held in stores and online. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a big extension on how long sales run.

And if you’re the type of shopper who prefers to purchase while in pajamas, rest assured that you’ll still have access to all the best deals from the comfort of home. In fact, some retailers even offer exclusive online-only deals during the Black Friday shopping spree.

Although the sales have started to last longer, we recommend getting in on the early-bird and doorbuster deals that Black Friday has to offer. With people lining up and waiting all night to rush the store, highly coveted items will sell out faster than you can recite your credit card details. The same usually goes for online Black Friday shopping, since some retailers will offer their absolute best deals early in the morning, then snap them back up by the afternoon.

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