Black Friday: A Black Mark?

When I did my regular food shop this week, I was stunned by a sign outside the supermarket which advised me to ‘set my alarm early’ (5am the time suggested by the digits of a practically neon clock pictured on the ad) and to ‘dress up warm’ in case I had to queue for entry.

I was taken aback, and then remembered footage from last year’s Black Friday – the crush of consumers forcing their way through barely ajar automatic doors, scores of the tech-savvy (and not so savvy) desperate to grab screens bigger than their wallls could support, or tablets that outperformed last week’s model in a not entirely deducible manner.

Is it just me who, witnessing such scenes, feels a barb of shame for Western culture?

My brother in law – a Californian – told me last year that it didn’t even make sense for the UK to ‘do’ Black Friday,  as it traditionally comes the day after Thanksgiving (which we don’t really do, unless you count Harvest Festival). It’s a day that Americans and their families gather and thank God for His blessings, on them and their land.

We have a tendency in the West to spend, spend, spend, and I found myself wondering today whether, like Christmas and Easter – and many other occasions of non secular origin – Thanksgiving is another casualty of our money driven culture. It seems to have been gently – lovingly, almost – laid on our consumerist altar. If so, then Black Friday appears as its headstone.

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4 thoughts on “Black Friday: A Black Mark?

  1. I only noticed it last year- and yes, I agree those scenes were shameful. I confess though that this year I did take advantage of the sales to get the new Kindle Fire on offer for £34:99 online (I can read library books on it- and its a lot easier to lug one of those about in my rucksack, and pull it out on a packed commuter train than my Netbook PC- that said, people have been known to sell used ones for as much, or less.
    Also, some Kindle books in my wishlist were on sale for the season, and I had some Kindle Credits, so they were welcome.

    I was talking to a shop assistant today who expressed the view that it might be a good thing, perhaps taking pressure off the retailers over Christmas and January sales. Could that be wishful thinking?

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    1. Thanks for commenting – so interesting to hear your experience! Sounds like you didn’t trample anyone to death to get a very practical bargain. I wonder if that’s part of the difference – that your approach to the sales was much more measured and was to purchase something that you would probably have bought anyway. It sounds as though you weren’t enticed into a reckless, impulse acquisition! I suspect that the ‘it takes pressure off’ line is a bit of a smoke screen…

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      1. Possibly, because in all likelihood, the January and Boxing Day sales are going to go ahead anyway. As for me- you are probably right- I greatly dislike the idea of going out to the town and braving the crowds. I don’t really like crowds full stop, come to think of that…..(that must make me sound like a terrible, grumpy recluse.)
        I would rather shop online if I had my way (with a couple of exceptions) especially as there are no delivery costs involved.

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      2. Agreed! My Canadian husband is shocked at how much of our shopping I do online. But it just works! And small children render the ‘real’ thing rather difficult…

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