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Black Friday: what’s the hype?

Black Friday – is it hot or not? We’ve invited three community members, Beryl, Ian and Duncan, to share their thoughts on this shopping event.

From humble beginnings

Beryl

Pondering the origins of Black Friday, Beryl thinks it’s only a quick fix to lift spirits during the festive season:

‘Black Friday conjures up an abundance of dark negative thoughts, associated with past Black events, such as Black Monday in 1987 when stock markets crashed around the world and Black Wednesday in 1992 when the British Conservative Government was forced to withdraw from European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

‘Curiosity got the better of me when Black Friday appeared on the scene with media portrayals of people scrambling and fighting for sale bargains in our large departmental stores.

‘Black Friday takes place on the fourth Friday in November each year following Thanksgiving Day in the USA. Families gather to celebrate and feast on turkey meals which contributes to in a happy and convivial atmosphere in readiness for the real highlight of the holiday weekend, Black Friday. In lifted moods from the previous day’s merry making they set out for a limited one day extravaganza.

‘With adrenaline buzzing following a week of heavy media advertising, people queue all night for a deal that can’t be missed. A true field day for shopaholics seeking social and sensational therapy to help build their low spirits.’

Crafty commercialisation

IanFor Ian, Black Friday is a time for retailers to reap the rewards:

‘Even the name leaves many feeling uneasy and, yes; it’s another American import.

‘Almost unknown over here until five years ago, when the US online retail giant – Amazon – thought it would try its luck over here, it’s rapidly grown into the busiest shopping day of the year, taking more than £800m last year and expected to top the £1bn mark in 2015.

‘Many argue it’s simply an opportunity for companies to unload goods they can’t sell at their normal prices (and there may well be good reasons why they can’t). While others voice their concerns that this is simply another gimmick for separating the hard-up from their hard-earned. Amazon’s infamous ‘1-click’ makes it possible to buy things with a single touch of a finger, for instance, while many on low incomes, struggling to make ends meet may well feel pressured into buying things they don’t really need.’

Pressurised to buy

DuncanDuncan agrees and feels it’s a pressurised push for us to spend, spend, spend:

‘It is purely a commercial sales exercise designed to spend money on gifts for Christmas.

‘You are encouraged to get into debt, while those too poor to buy those things look in shop windows exactly like the poor Victorians did gazing at things they could never own. While a “Christmas Carol” play comes to mind there is zero chance of a happy end for the crippled child as modern day scrooges, unlike the play, keep taking from the poor but won’t give.

‘Sales? Only for those that can afford it.’

Black Friday: hot or not?

So Black Friday seems to have become a “thing” in the UK.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Black Friday sales there are some bargains to be had out there. Equally, there are plenty of dud deals, for example we found some coffee machines that are on sale all year round.

So what do you think? Are retailers making it a little bit too easy to impulse buying, or are they simply making it more convenient for shoppers? Do the goods on sale represent quality merchandise, or is it yet another opportunity for firms to dispose of hard-to-sell stuff?

Comments
Member

To start the thumbs down, most of us are responsible for our own actions – or put it another way, we would not want other people telling us how to run our lives, financially or otherwise. So if we choose to fritter money away (that we may not have) in any way that is surely our choice. Many may get good bargains, things they need, stuff for Christmas. Some simply enjoy shopping and getting what they hope is a bargain (just like some like spending money on a gig, a football match, a foreign holiday if you can stretch to those)

Me – I’m a bit of a conservative scrooge and generally think hard before making purchases; not what you would call an impulse buyer. As for staring in shop windows at things I can’t afford, well I suffer from envy, however much I may or may not have. A better car, bigger house, nice holiday – but I can get by.

My main proviso would be if Black Friday “bargains” were misleading. Rubbish brands or rebrands, regular products “cut down” to meet a price, reductions that are not genuine. I’d clamp down heavily on those and penalise the retailers – well, I’d ask Trading Standards to if we had an effective organisation.

Member

I agree It is over hyped even by Which

Member

PS – just had an email from Skates: “Don’t Miss Out! – Black Friday Week Ends Monday”. So its really “Black Week” then? Soon be “Black Month”………. 🙁

Member

We already have a name for that. Its called a “DFS sale” !

Member

I agree with this, what a hype and a waste of time. all they are interested in is money at the end of the day. so next thing they will be saying is black whole year. wouldn’t that be wonderful, I don’t think so.

Member

The “January” sales officially start on December 23rd ,several days before xmas (no longer a “Christian ” celebration ) but a “Commercialmas ” , decorations etc are being sold off at rock bottom prices. Whats that I hear mummy a carol singer ? no Gwendoline its the tinkle of cash registers and the rubbing of hands of the business owner and a shop choir singing ,if I was a rich man. Mother to Tiny Tim – No turkey for you m,lad only bread and dripping -Tiny Tim -why is that Mummy – Mummy- because Mr Scrooge “austerity ” says so . Tiny Tim -I feel faint from lack of food -Mummy- I will do as Scrooge “austerity ” says in those circumstances – lean you against a wall so that if anybody sees you they will think you are still alive-Tiny Tim-thank you Mummy and a “Merry ” xmas to you his last words gasp.

Member

xmas (no longer a “Christian ” celebration )
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Like Easter, it was borrowed from the previous lot, who inherited it from …………….

The Golden Bough………….. A Study in Magic and Religion…………….Sir James George Frazer

Member

Josef I was replying to the artificial theme of this time of the year the media hype while trying to make out its a time of the year to think of others as you rush to buy the latest 4K TV in other words BB has hijacked the real message -be nicer to others. I do know the origins of xmas and its pagan beginnings but I do know I have a spirit even though I think a lot of the bible is propaganda for one religion and written centuries later. The other way of thinking then is = when you die thats it -the end -black in that case we are only here to procreate no better than an insect and then whatever you do thats okay as there is no recrimination -so kill – torture to your hearts content .