What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday - it sounds like hell and for most shoppers it probably will be.

In terms of things the US has exported, Black Friday is probably one of the most curious. It falls on the day after Thanksgiving and basically refers to the day superstores entice Christmas shoppers with discount prices.

According to the BBC the name was originally used in September 1869, when two gold speculators attempted to own the entire market on the New York Stock Exchange. They failed.

The result was a government intervention which involved flooding the market with gold, prices plummeted and many investors lost sizable fortunes. Ouch.

Now it refers to the biggest shopping day of the year. The craze has spread from the US, to Canada and now to Europe.

The Guardian reports that 2012, an estimated $11.2bn was spent by US in-store customers, while online spending broke the $1bn barrier.

Unfortunately the madness to get a bargain often spills over into tragedy. In 2008 a Walmart employee trampled to death and in 2011 a woman pepper-sprayed rival shoppers over an Xbox, according to the Toronto Sun.

For the UK, here's a full run down of the Black Friday mega deals which will be sending shoppers into a frenzy.

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