It’s ‘Crazy Friday’ in Quebec

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By Eric Blais

Everybody loves a deal no matter what it’s called.

Black Friday, the retailer-created shopping event following Thanksgiving in the U.S., is increasingly popular in Canada.

survey by New York-based IPG Mediabrands found a staggering one million Canadian workers plan on phoning in sick on Nov. 28 (Black Friday) and/or Dec. 1 (Cyber Monday), the dates of this year’s retail blitz.

According to findings from a survey conducted last year for BMO, 47% of Quebeckers were planning to make purchases on Black Friday in 2013, up from 41% in 2012.

Wikipedia offers this explanation for the name’s origins:

“The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation was made: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss (“in the red”) from January through November, and “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or “in the black”.”

Whatever the origins, the name is meaningless, if not depressing, in French Québec.

Retailers have been using different French names to give meaning to their sales events. Some call it Vendredi Noir. Others like Banana Republic call it Super vendredi. Some simply call it Méga Vente Black Friday (it should be “solde”, not “vente”). To be safe, Centre HiFi calls it Vendredi noir and Black Friday.

L’office québécois de la langue française has tackled the problem and is recommending Vendredi fou (Crazy Friday).


Eric Blais is President of Toronto-based Headspace Marketing Inc., which also authors the website:



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