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Why is it called Black Friday? (Oh, and some Cyber Monday shopping deals…)

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 24, 2017

Psst, I added some Cyber Monday deals to the bottom of the post.

Good morning! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving…or at least annoyed your family with this NY Times piece, Most Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong.

Today however, is “Black Friday”, which…wait, why do they call it that? Ben Zimmer explains that the term originated in Philadelphia’s law enforcement circles:

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, when holiday shopping kicks off and sales-hunters are in full frenzy. The day has come to be known in the United States as “Black Friday,” and there are a number of myths about the origin of the name. Retailers would like you to believe that it’s the day when stores turn a profit on the year, thus “going into the black.” But don’t you believe it: the true origins come from traffic-weary police officers in Philadelphia in the early 1960s.

Retailers love invented holidays, and the name with the negative connotation was later twisted into a shopping event. But with carefully targeted online shopping, you can now skip the rush and get some great deals on things you might need or gifts for family & friends. Poking around a little this morning, I found the following:

- The 6-qt pro version of the KitchenAid stand mixer for $280 (51% off).

- Everyone loves the Instant Pot. The larger 8-qt and the smaller 3-qt are both on sale for $82 (37% off) and $49 (30% off) respectively. The 6-qt model, the one I have in my own kitchen, was also on sale for $68 but is totally sold out already.

- Kindles are on sale. The regular one starts at just $50 (38% off) while the Paperwhite (my fave) is $90 (25% off).

- Build your own computer with The Kano Computer Kit for $100 (17% off).

- The 23andMe DNA test kit for $99 (50% off).

- I know, I know, Moore’s Law and all, but it still boggles my mind that you can buy a 4TB portable external hard drive for only $96 (26% off).

- For easy sous vide cooking, the Anova Precision Cooker is only $109 (40% off).

Update: That sound you hear is Cyber Monday kicking in. Here are a few more deals to be had today:

- This 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook is on sale for $99 (44% off). $99!

- The 6-qt Instant Pot is going for $75 (38% off)…I bet this sells out pretty quickly.

- A bunch of LEGO sets are on sale today, which is a pretty rare event.

- My pals at 20x200 are offering discount codes on orders of $75 or more today only…20-30% off.

- This quadcopter drone is only $30 (46% off).

- I’ve heard good things about these Amazon-branded t-shirts, on sale for $8.40 (30% off). I just ordered a couple to see how they compare to American Apparel b/c who knows how long that’ll be a thing…