Black Friday is here and Christmas is just around the corner. To many that means madly shopping for ‘bargains’ online and on the high street, but I’d like to remind everyone not to lose perspective.
One answer to the question of ‘What’s Black Friday?’ is that it’s the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US following Thanksgiving Day (thanks Wikipedia!). Another answer to the question is that it’s an excuse for shops to work us up into a frenzy with questionable deals in a crude attempt to pull their balance sheets into the black. No wonder UK shops have welcomed the day with open arms.
Yes, I’m being cynical. But I think there’s a tendency for people to go a bit nuts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When I say people go a bit nuts, I actually mean they dive headfirst into a big bursting bag of nuts. You may have seen reports of supermarket stampedes as shoppers scramble to snap up electricals that have presumably been discounted so much that it would be a crime not to buy them. And talking of crime, the police were even called upon to deal with this unparalleled excitement.
Queuing for online deals
Now, that’s not to say I’m not partial to a bargain. Even I was up at midnight checking out all the online deals. I even sat myself in an ‘online queue’ (yes they have queues for websites now) to get onto Currys. This was more out of curiosity than out of any real intention to dip into my bank account; and by the time I was given a ‘ticket’ to enter the Currys online sale, I’d fallen asleep.
Still, while I sit here criticising Black Friday with one hand, I’ve been promoting it with the other via emails to colleagues with discount codes. But let me make this clear – I’m not against shopping in sales. I just think we should keep our wits about us. Do you really need that ‘50% off’ 42’’ TV to replace the one you bought a couple of years ago? Does your mum really want a discounted kettle made by an unknown brand for Christmas?
Case in point – I’ve been waiting to buy a PlayStation 4 from John Lewis. I want to buy it from John Lewis due to its good customer service, longer warranty and the vouchers I’ve been given. Sadly, it doesn’t look like John Lewis will be discounting the PS4 today. However, I’m not willing to buy it from elsewhere just because it’s Black Friday.
This is what I’m saying – hold onto your values, shop in your own time and remember you have a legal right to return goods you’ve bought online 14 days after they’ve been delivered…
It’s time to bin dodgy deliveries
I say delivered. This stampede of online shopping is likely to spawn delivery problems. This is another area where people appear to be losing all sense of reality. Yesterday, Yodel hit the headlines for delivering damaged Tower of London World War I ceramic poppies.
I mean, really, delivery drivers – stop throwing parcels. Stop leaving packages under doormats – this isn’t a game of peak-a-boo with a small child – we can clearly see parcels under a doormat. And stop leaving parcels in bins – they are not a letterbox:
— Which? Campaigns (@WhichCampaigns) November 28, 2014
So, as we ramp up to Christmas, buy what you want to buy. Don’t be hoodwinked into buying things you don’t really want. And when your delivery driver knocks on your door and hands you your parcel in perfect condition, give them thanks and wish them a Merry Christmas because their good service isn’t as common as it should be. Happy shopping.