I’ve been in work today. All day.
Because it is a normal working day in the UK.
Yet according to my email inbox and various media outlets, today is ‘Black Friday’, the ‘busiest shopping day of the year!’
Was it ever thus?
Well no – frankly until a couple of years ago it was never thus. As far as my homeland is concerned, ‘Black Friday’ is well and truly a made-up thing.
It’s a concept that our idiotic retailers have stolen from the US.
It makes sense over there. Because it’s the day after Thanksgiving, so Christmas is officially the next big thing on the horizon and everyone’s off work. I don’t know if your average American welcomes or decries ‘Black Friday’ but I understand why it exists.
But it makes less than no sense for us to have a ‘Black Friday’ over here, because for us the last Thursday in November isn’t anything other than a cold and miserable Thursday. There’s no reason at all to assume that people are going to suddenly start spending all their money on the following Friday. Unless retailers pretend there are some major discounts to be had.
Which is what they do. Retailers actually lie to us to get us to spend our money on the last Friday in November, seemingly for the sole purpose of making ‘Black Friday – UK’ a thing.
There aren’t any actual deals to be had. I do quite a lot of my shopping online and one of the side-effects of that is that my inbox is bombarded all year by retailers offering me ‘unbeatable deals’. This week I’ve been bombarded by retailers offering me ‘Black Friday’ deals. And guess what? They’re the same deals. And all the deals are just money off stuff that no-one would ever want to buy anyway.
Also a lot of these emails have been declaring it to be ‘Black Friday Week’. I can’t even begin to describe what lamentably stupid phrase that is.
But the thing that makes me the most sad is that until this idiotic retail ‘phenomenon’ began, the UK already had something we lovingly labelled as ‘Black Friday’.
Our original ‘Black Friday’ had nothing to do with commerce. It was the name the emergency services gave to the last Friday before Christmas because that’s the day that the British public traditionally get the most irresponsibly drunk en masse.
That was a ‘Black Friday’ that really encapsulated what it means to be British.