NWMS Explains the History of Black Friday

(And Black Friday Shopping Tips!)

Have you ever wondered how Black Friday got its name? Sure, it may be a nationally known shopping holiday now, but that’s not what it was always known for. We got a little curious ourselves and dug into the history of Black Friday, so we’ve put together our research for your reading pleasure. 

Of course, we’re big fans of Black Friday, too. As we’re rolling out the deals, we thought we’d give you some tips on how to avoid headaches if you’re shopping for a vehicle during this hectic time. Read on to learn about Black Friday and how to make the most of it at a car dealership! 

the history of black friday started with a crash

The History of Black Friday Started with a Crash

Interestingly enough, the first time Black Friday became a household term had nothing to do with great deals at retail outlets. Instead, it was the name used to describe a financial crisis that happened thanks to the work of two Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk. This opportunistic pair devised a plan to buy as much of the nation’s gold as they could, hoping to get the price to skyrocket and then sell it back to the public.

Ultimately, their plan came to ruin on September 24th, 1869. President Ulysses S. Grant caught wind of their nefarious deeds and decided to flood the market with gold, selling roughly $4 million worth of gold from the national treasury. The gold market dropped precipitously, and the rest of the stock market dropped about 20%. This sent the stock market into chaos and financially ruined thousands of speculators.

The result of this original Black Friday had long-lasting effects on the U.S. economy and certainly did not win Grant any favors. Meanwhile, Fisk and Gould escaped scot-free, escaping any punishment. 

philadelphia started the history of black friday

Philadelphia Started the History of Black Friday as We Know It

If that story left a bitter taste in your mouth, we regret to inform you that the history of Black Friday as we know it isn’t exactly cheery, either. Black Friday was a term used by Philadelphia police in the 1950s. It was used to describe the rush of holiday goers that came to the city for the Army-Navy football game the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

If you’re wondering what could be so wrong about that, you should know that this event was huge. The crowds were so large and difficult to handle, police officers had to work extra-long hours to help deal with all the pandemonium. It’s certainly an important piece of the history of Black Friday.

The sheer number of people and the resulting traffic jams brought the city to a grinding halt. And to make matters worse, shoplifters were taking advantage of all the confusion to steal things from under shop owners’ noses. Is this starting to sound familiar yet?

By the 1960s, the term Black Friday had caught on with Philadelphia. Local businesses saw it as an opportunity. They began to hold annual sales to make the best out of an unfortunate situation. They even tried to erase the negative connotations of the shopping holiday by rebranding it as “Big Friday,” but the damage was already done.

The term was contained in Philadelphia until the 1980s. Then corporations across the United States realized Black Friday presented a great economic opportunity. Thanks to some crafty marketing, the term spread like wildfire. By the end of the 1980s, Black Friday had become a nationally known shopping holiday.

the history of black friday

Red to Black?

Thanks to the efforts of companies to help the history of Black Friday catch on with the rest of the nation, a fictional story about the origin of the name began to circulate. This story was a lot tamer than the reality. It claimed that department stores would operate at a loss for most of the year (in the red), but then see gigantic leaps in profit (in the black) when holiday shoppers took advantage of discounted rates the day after Thanksgiving.

This inventive but simple story helped to bury its actual origins in the public consciousness. 

how to shop for a car on black friday

How to Shop for a Car on Black Friday

That’s the long and short of the Black Friday story. Let’s bring it back to the present and talk about what it means for you. Black Friday isn’t just for department stores anymore, so if you’re looking to save big, you’re in luck. Car dealerships now also recognize the holiday by offering all kinds of great deals and promotions. 

If you’re in the market to buy a car for Black Friday, we here at NWMS want to help you out. So, avoid some of the craziness of a Black Friday sales event! We’ve put together a guide to make your shopping experience as smooth as possible.

get your car appraised

Early Appraisal

Do you have a car that you want to trade-in? Don’t wait to get it appraised at the dealership – be prepared with an appraisal. You’ll be arming yourself with the knowledge of how much your car is worth before you even step foot on the lot, making negotiations a lot quicker.

know the car you want

Know the Car you Want

Keep in mind that this will not be the time to shop around. If you’re visiting a dealership on Black Friday, you’ll be faced with some serious crowds. And certainly a limited number of available salespeople. Do your research into what kind of vehicle you want and which cars are most likely to be discounted. And be sure to check out their online inventory. Picking out a car before your visit will save you and your salesperson a lot of elbowing around.

give the dealership a call

Give the Dealership A Call

Once you’ve picked out the ride you want, call the dealership ahead of time to get a few things out of the way. 

  • First, you’ll want to get a price quote. The price you see online is usually before fees, policies, and accessory packages are accounted for. So a price quote will give you a more functional idea of the final price. 
  • Second, if the dealership is running a promotion, you should use that call to make sure you completely understand the rules and stipulations of that promotion. Don’t miss out on a free iPad because you didn’t read the fine print!
  • Finally, use that call to set up a test drive before Black Friday. Big crowds, limited salespeople, and busy roadways are not the ideal test-drive conditions.
time for a test drive

Be Prepared

Alright, so now you know what car you want, how much it’s going to be, and you’ve set up a test drive. What do you do now? 

Get all your paperwork in order. Financing is a huge bottleneck in the car selling process. So prepare for that part of the negotiation by having a pre-approved loan in hand. They might have a better deal waiting for you. But if they don’t, you’re ready to move on with the sale. Additionally, many banks are closed during this holiday weekend, so financing on Black Friday can be a little slow.

You should also check to make sure that your other paperwork is current. You should have with you your license, proof of auto insurance, your method of payment, and any necessary trade-in paperwork. It might be difficult to prove you have auto insurance if your insurance card has expired. Mostly because many of those institutions are closed that holiday weekend as well.

final tips for shopping for a car for black friday

Final Tips

With all these things in mind, we have just a few more tips for you.

  • Pick an alternate car when you’re shopping around online. The car you want could get scooped up before Black Friday. 
  • Get to your dealership as early as you can. Some dealerships open early, allowing you to avoid the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers on the road and at the dealership.
  • Be patient if you’re shopping on Black Friday. We all know that Black Friday shopping can feel chaotic! So going in with a good attitude and a calm disposition will save you a lot of stress.
don't miss out on any of the NWMS Black Friday deals

Don’t Miss Out on Black Friday Deals

We know the history of Black Friday is a little turbulent, but your shopping experience doesn’t have to be. It’s historically one of the best days of the year for deals on cars. So this is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up if you’re in the market for one. Prepare yourself with some research, go in confidently, beat the post-Thanksgiving rush, and buy yourself a great vehicle.