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This year, our Black Friday Event gives you 25% off K Rings and Gift Cards in our store – and it’s the perfect opportunity to get hold of a unique Christmas present … or two 😉

It’s well known that Black Friday is an American import, occurring the day after Thanksgiving, when a ridiculous number of us spend a ridiculous amount of money in a ridiculously short space of time, as a result of ridiculous discounts. But why does it have such a sombre name, redolent more of a pandemic breakout than the start of the Christmas shopping season? We took the long trip to Wikipedia to find out, without taking the time to fact-check because, frankly, what’s the point in this post-truth era? Especially when the sales are on…

It looks like one of the earliest uses of the term “Black Friday” – referring to the day after Thanksgiving in the US – was in 1951, in the popular journal Factory Management and Maintenance (the Fifties’ equivalent of Hello!), in relation to workers calling in sick to give themselves a four-day weekend. Which sounds fair enough. However, around the same time, “Black Friday” was being used by the Philadelphia and Rochester (New York, not Kent) police to describe the crowds and traffic congestion as the Christmas shopping season kicked-off.

Rochester High Street, Kent
Clem Rutter, Wikipedia
Rochester High Street, Kent – clearly not on Black Friday

The term didn’t really stick, but crops up again in The New York Times on November 29th, 1975, referring specifically to "the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year" in Philadelphia. By the Eighties, the phrase had spread across the US, describing the chaotic, consumerist feeding frenzy that the day after Thanksgiving was fast becoming, as retailers got wise to consumers’ colossal capacity for spending on that day.

Online behemoth, Amazon, was responsible for bringing Black Friday to UK shores in 2010, offering massive discounts to consumers. Until this point in the UK, “Black Friday” was a term used by the police and NHS to refer to the alcohol-fuelled “revelry” of the evening of the Friday before Christmas. But that was nothing compared to the absolute carnage of the 2013 Black Friday sale at Asda stores (owned by US retail giant, Walmart), which resulted in horrendous queues, stampedes and fistfights over some big tellies. Every retailer worth their salt wanted a piece of that action, so Black Friday became a thing in the UK, too.

Dietmar Rabich, Wikipedia
Outside Asda, Black Friday, 2013

That’s it: the origins of Black Friday in a nutshell. But don’t go citing this “article” in any of your academic work; it won’t end well.

Oh, and then the Monday after Black Friday’s now known as Cyber Monday, of course. It’s the online equivalent to Black Friday, created in 2005 to let smaller retail websites compete with larger chains. But you don’t need to wait until Cyber Monday to get 25% off your K Ring contactless payment ring online … just so you know.

So happy Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), everyone! Avoid the traffic, the crowds and the fistfights, and stick to shopping online this year – and the K Ring store is a great place to start.


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25 Nov 2019