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
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.’
For 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
Duncan 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?