huge crowd of people in a store decorated for the holidays

Black Friday

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Black Friday is an annual shopping event observed in the United States on the Friday after Thanksgiving, during which most major retailers open early and offer a variety of promotional sales and discounts, to mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Since 2005, it has remained the busiest shopping day of the entire year.


The earliest known use of the term “Black Friday” in the context of the holiday shopping season can be found in a December 1961 newsletter describing the heavy traffic jam in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[1] as a result of the sudden influx of shoppers in the area.

Notable Developments

Black Friday Fights

On November 24th, 2006, YouTuber xkatykx uploaded a video titled "Black Friday Fight," featuring several shoppers fighting over computers in a retail store (shown below, left). In the first seven years, the video gained over 850,000 views and 1,300 comments. On July 17th, 2007, YouTuber kopret uploaded a news segment about a Black Friday stampede in which several people were injured (shown below, right), gathering more than 790,000 views and 2,200 comments in the following six years.

On November 26th, 2010, YouTuber talltravis79 published a video showing a fight taking place at a Target shopping center on Black Friday (shown below, left). In the first three years, the video gained more than 870,000 views and 2,600 comments. On November 26th, 2013, the RSVLTS YouTube channel uploaded a montage of Black Friday fighting videos (shown below, right). In the first week, the video garnered more than 1.98 million views and 8,300 comments.

On November 28th, YouTuber TheBlackhawk715 uploaded a video showing women fighting over a television in a Walmart store on Thanksgiving day (shown below, left). Meanwhile, YouTuber So IDecidedTo uploaded a video showing Walmart shoppers shoving each other while waiting in line (shown below, right). In the first five days, the videos gained over 6.4 million and 13 million views respectively. During Black Friday the following day, the hashtag #Walmartfights began trending on Twitter with reports of violence occurring at Walmart stores across the United States.[2]

Black Friday Pranks

On December 8th, 2008, YouTuber Brad Carter uploaded a prank video in which customers are harassed on the phone at a Walmart shopping center (shown below, left). Within five years, the video accumulated upwards of 960,000 views and 2,000 comments. On November 28th, 2011, the MediocreFilms YouTube channel released a prank video in which employees at Target are asked for help in finding nonsensical shopping items (shown below, right), gathering upwards of 4.96 million views and 4,200 comments in two years.

On November 23rd, 2012, YouTube PrankvsPrank uploaded a video in which two men pretend to be Target employees (shown below, left). On November 26th, the Improv Everywhere YouTube channel uploaded footage of a group of pranksters camping out in front of a dollar store for Black Friday (shown below, right). In the first year, the videos accumulated over 13 million and 5.1 million views respectively.

Black Friday Death Count

For Black Friday in 2013, the single serving site Black Friday Death Count[4] was launched, which features a counter that updates with the total number of deaths and injuries associated with Black Friday sales (shown below).

Black Friday Death count of 7 dead, 90 injured screen grab of the site that keeps track of Black Friday Deaths

November 2014

On November 23rd, 2014, YouTuber Nacho Punch uploaded a parody trailer for a horror film about Black Friday (shown below). In less than a week, the video gained over 460,000 views and 480 comments.

On November 28th, several YouTubers uploaded footage of Black Friday shoppers violently fighting over sales at various retailers (shown below).

Search Interest

External References

[1] Linguistlist – Listserv 16

[2] Global News – Watch #Walmartfights

[3] Gizmodo – Black Friday Disasters

[4] Black Friday Death Count – Black Friday Death Count

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