Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
This Friday sees the recurrence of a 50-year old tradition originating in the USA, Black Friday – the day when millions of Americans hit the shops to buy massively discounted items in preparation for Christmas. Whilst Black Friday is a well established event in the US calendar, it has only just started to catch on in the UK, a few years after Walmart bought out Asda.
This year, Black Friday falls on the 28th November in Britain and is predicted to be the biggest shopping day ever. From many electronic gizmos and gadgets set to be discounted, it all goes on a first come, first served meaning huge crowds are expected to arrive at crazy o’clock in the morning to get their hands on the best deals.
Now, at the risk of sounding like the Grinch, although we all love a good bargain, is this really something that we need? People behaving like wild animals (to put it politely) – the screaming, the pushing, the brawls… this day of sales almost seems to be an excuse for a riot. How badly do people need more things anyway? In such a consumerist society, it seems that we are always needing more and we are spending so much money on whatever it is the shops offer us. All very well for the economy of course but in reality, it is something that contributes to the stress and unhappiness amongst those rushing for those bargains and not stopping to realise that what they have is, by far, more than enough.
Of course there are various degrees of extremes but seeing some of the videos of shoppers going completely insane, it makes you wonder how we ever got to this point? Sure, getting a flat screen TV for Christmas is pretty great, but it doesn’t leave much in the way of imagination and giving good ol’ fashioned personal presents that actually show you have put some thought into it.
As this is only a recent phenomenon, there hasn’t been anything too violent yet in the UK but given what happens over in America, it shouldn’t be too long ‘til we follow through and start forgetting the whole point of Christmas. It is all very well taking on cultural traditions from our transatlantic cousins, after all we probably wouldn’t celebrate Halloween the way we do nor would we celebrate the end of time at school with a prom, but is Black Friday something we really need? A few half smashed electronic goods at a knock-down price whilst trying not to be knocked out by other shoppers doesn’t exactly sound great and is probably something we can do without.
So that leave us with two choices – you can either do what we’ve done by going to a nice Christmas market to enjoy the snow and some mulled wine…
…or you can opt to find yourself on the next stock footage of the sequel zombie thriller “28 days later” because watch out, the rage/black friday virus is well and truly on its way to Britain’s shores!