Black Friday and big discounts - when did they start?

May 18, 2020, 4:08 p.m.

November 24, 1978, Shoppers at Valley View Mall pack the shopping center on the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Photo by Clint Grant.

You’ve probably heard of Black Friday in one way or another, and the words “big discount” and “limited time offer” usually follow any advertisement of the event. With those key phrases plastered all over, it’s hard to miss any mention of it at certain times of the year. But have you ever wondered when it all started?

In the United States, Black Friday is arguably a cultural event, stemming from the country’s strong consumer market, especially around the late-November and December holiday seasons. However, pinpointing the first-ever Black Friday, or even time frame, is not as clear-cut as the history of how diamonds became a staple of marriage proposals (also an interesting story).

December 1947 - American shoppers visit stores in Manhattan for the Christmas holiday shopping season. The photo was taken from “Vintage Photos: Holiday Window Displays at Stores Around the World” by Tara Bell.

Black Friday’s history, shrouded in mystery, has led to several hypotheses of where the term came from. One of the most widely circulated explanations is through the accounting phrases known as “operating in the red” and “operating in the black”. If a business is “operating in the red”, the business may be spending more than what it’s earning, as denoted by the red ink used to denote debt in accounting books. On the other hand, “operating in the black” means the business is earning a profit from sales as the ink used is black. But this explanation only answers the “Black” in Black Friday, so, how did it come to be on a Friday?

This one is a bit tougher to determine but it’s widely believed to come from its Thanksgiving association. Every Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November when families come together and give thanks to the blessings they received in the past year. Thanksgiving is also the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season in the United States. Hence, the Friday following Thanksgiving day itself is when retailers plaster big discounts to attract as many buyers as possible in the opening days of the holiday shopping season.

Considering how big Black Friday has become, will something like this ever come to Cambodia? While discounts are not uncommon among Cambodian retailers, there’s never really been an industry-wide sale popularized in the same manner. But that is changing with’s Black Friday Property Sale, the first-ever Black Friday sale in Cambodia.

Real estate prices industry-wide have been dropping for the past few months, even among Cambodia’s top-tier developments. This presents a rare and unique opportunity for any prospecting homeowner in the Kingdom to get their dream home at more attractive prices during the Black Friday Property Sale.

The event is scheduled on June 12, 2020 4pm to 8pm GMT+7. The Black Friday Property Sale will feature time-exclusive discounts on top-tier property from renowned real estate developers in the country.

Register for FREE today at the Black Friday Property Sale website and mark your calendars in June 2020.

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