Black Friday is the Friday which follows Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday is celebrated in the United States as an official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On the day, most shops open extremely early and offer promotional sales to boost the consumption, which is similar to Boxing Day after Christmas Day in Britain and many Commonwealth nations. For years, it was quite usual for retailers to open their shops at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many opened at 5:00 a.m. or even 4:00 a.m. The year 2011 witnessed a new extreme when several retailers opened at midnight. For non-retailer employees, they may have a day off work or choose to take a day from their annual leave on Black Friday. Some use this to make trips to see family members or friends who live in other areas or to go on vacation. Others use it to start shopping for the Christmas season. Black Friday is not a federal holiday, but is a public holiday in California and some other states in the United States.
Black Friday, to the police, is not a term of endearment. The name of the day originated in Philadelphia where it was first used by the Police Department to describe massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores were mobbed from opening to closing. Nowadays, Black Friday crowds that are hunting for bargains still give the police headaches. However, retailers do not appreciate the negative connotation associated with Black Friday. Therefore, there exists another explanation as to why it is called Black Friday. As they might put it, the term Black Friday came from an old way of recording business accounts: losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black ink. Therefore, an alternative explanation was made that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss, or "in the red", from January through November, and "Black Friday" indicates the point where retailers begin to turn a profit, or get "in the black". It goes without saying that Black Friday positively means a profitable Friday to the retail industry.