The number of Black Friday deaths and injuries increased in 2016, compared to the two previous years. According to reports, four people were seriously injured and two people were killed amid the yearly holiday shopping frenzy. Before this year, nobody was killed on Black Friday since 2013.
As reported by History.com, the first “Black Friday” was September 24, 1869. However, the term did not refer to a day of frenzied Christmas shopping. Instead, the first Black Friday marked a devastating crash of the United States gold market.
The most popular explanation for Black Friday, as it relates to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, has to do with accounting.
According to legend, the Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because it gives retailers an opportunity to earn a hefty profit. When companies begin earning a profit it is commonly referred to as being “in the black” because profits were traditionally recorded in black in accounting logs.
Although it is the most popular explanation, it is not entirely accurate. The term Black Friday, in reference to the day after Thanksgiving, was actually coined by the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police department in the 1950s.
In anticipation of the annual Army-Navy football game, which always took place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, tens of thousands of tourists flocked to the city on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Although retailers appreciated the boost in sales, local authorities were not amused.
The influx of tourists meant an increase in crowds, traffic, and crime. As a result, the officers were unable to take time off for the holiday and were often forced to work overtime. Therefore, they began referring to the day as “Black Friday.”
In the early 1960s, retailers throughout the city attempted to change the term to “Big Friday” to remove the negative connotation. However, the “friendlier” term never caught on.
Although they were unable to change the name, retailers throughout the nation managed to put a positive spin on Black Friday by turning it into one of the biggest holiday shopping days of the year.
Despite the fact that Black Friday has become a largely positive event for many retailers and shoppers, the frenzy created by Black Friday sales has led to some serious injuries and a number of deaths.
As reported by Blasting News, some of the more tragic incidents include an elderly man who was shot and killed over a television he purchased on Black Friday 2009, a United States Marine reservist who was brutally stabbed while collecting Toys for Tots on Black Friday 2010, and a 34-year-old security guard who was trampled to death at a Walmart store on Black Friday 2013.
According to BlackFridayDeathCount.com, a total of 102 people were injured and nine were killed in incidents related to Black Friday since 2006. However, the most tragic year for Black Friday shoppers was 2011.
In 2011, there was only one Black Friday Death. Unfortunately, a total of 46 people were injured. A majority of those injured were sprayed with pepper spray. However, some of the others were hurt in vehicle crashes and altercations with other shoppers.
A total of six Black Friday deaths were reported between 2011 and 2016. Although nobody was reported injured or killed in 2015, the injuries and deaths increased this year.
The 2016 Black Friday deaths include a shopper who was shot and killed at a Walmart in Reno, Nevada and another shopper was shot and killed outside a New Jersey Macy’s department store.
In addition to the two 2016 Black Friday deaths, four others were injured. Those hurt in Black Friday incidents include a police officer, who was stabbed in the neck by a shoplifter in Leeds, UK.
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