It was ‘Black Friday’ yesterday, I don’t know what colour it is today, maybe it’s yellow, or maybe it depends on the sort of day you are having?
A new occasion
I don’t remember Black Friday existing when I was a child. Only in the last few years have I become aware of it when it’s been thrust in my face whether I like it or not. Yesterday, I Googled the term ‘Black Friday’ and got 306,000,000 links, mainly to bargains that couldn’t (apparently) pass me by. I wonder whether from those millions of items there is even 36 things that I need or want, I suspect not.
The dark side of black!
So, I Googled, ‘What is Black Friday?’ and learned that it’s the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving Day, when so many people in the USA go shopping that it causes traffic accidents, violence and mayhem. The Philadelphia Police Department apparently coined the phrase and not because they were excited at the prospect of it!
Turkeys not tinned peaches
So, what has Black Friday got to do with us in the UK? Isn’t Thanksgiving Day a sort of Harvest Festival started by the Pilgrim Fathers? I’m not Googling that (it took me long enough to read through the 306 million online bargains!). My memories of Harvest Festivals in this country are taking tins of processed peas, peach slices and a tin of evaporated milk to school and placing them with other such produce on a specially appointed table (this was when I briefly attended a Catholic school – a rather puzzling period for a non-religious child trying to understand what happens in Latin Mass). I understand that Thanksgiving is a big and happy occasion in North America (unless you are a turkey), and a time that families get together and celebrate. I think this is a lovely idea and one I heartedly approve of but I do wonder why we in the UK should be connected in any way with it. Halloween wasn’t an event when I was a child and ‘trick and treating’ didn’t exist here either. Maybe it’s a good thing it is here now, or maybe not? Maybe millions of Americans have or will soon have, ‘Guy Fawkes’ night?
Buy, Buy, Buy!
So really, of course I know the answer as to why we have these things here, commercialism. An opportunity, an excuse to purchase what we don’t really need at a reduced price. Smoke and mirrors to help us focus on how much money we’ve saved when really it’s about how much we’ve spent. I appreciate it might be a good saving, if you were going to buy it anyway but I expect that many of us (myself included), can’t resist the opportunity of a good bargain. I have purchased two things on the internet that, if I’m honest I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, but guess how much money I’ve saved! The fact that I can press a button and don’t even have to enter my credit card details, makes it easier and more likely that I’ll buy it. No time to think, no time to consider, no hesitation. One click and it’s on it’s way. Laziness, has reached a new height – if we can’t be bothered to go to the shops, shopping comes to us.
Progress or not?
Maybe it’s better, safer that these sales are mainly available online. I remember as a child watching the news at Christmas time, seeing people who were already queueing and sleeping outside department stores, so they would amongst the first to grab the New Year Day bargains. I have to admit that sales in the USA are really good with real bargains (as long as you needed/wanted things in the first place) and when you get to the till to pay, they tell you there is a further x% off. Somehow, sales in the UK seem rather disappointing in comparison. There is often a vague familiarity about some of the bargain items that one suspect may have been dragged out from the storage of last year’s, or last season’s unsold stock. It feels a bit like those presents that you get (or give!) at Christmas time that are unwanted presents that have been ‘re-purposed’.
Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the beginning of the next shopping opportunities. 🙂
Please note: I am an early riser and frequently wake up with thoughts and questions on my mind. I write them down and record them in these short unedited, un-researched, unscientific bits of writing. They are written in a half asleep hypnopompic state and should not be regarded as anything more than what they are – random thoughts and musings. For sensible subjects and writing please visit Positive Psychology Learning website