News / Updates — 27 November 2015

Black Friday is the ominous day after Thanksgiving when a huge number of the American populace collectively moves into a buying frenzy.

This day is marked by insufferable greed, pushing and shoving, shouting, and quite often, violence. People home in like heat seeking missiles on a myriad of special deals – leaving much havoc in their wake (as an example see footage taken below in 2013).

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This frenzy is sponsored and encouraged by most retail corporations, and actively advertised and funneled into the brains of consumers. Much reported side effects are insults, injuries (think pepper spray), and even deaths.

People are known to set up small tents on the evening or even days before Black Friday in front of the store they will be targeting, and sleep there, so as to be first in line for the ‘event’. Some shops open at midnight, to expand the hours of spending. This has become a national event, a folks sport; each shopper tries to outdo the others, jumping on the best deals and quite often tearing an item away from somebody who found it first.

As there is an enormous amount of money involved that changes hand in a short period of time, the Black Friday consumer hysteria has begun to infest also other countries, including the UK. Last year, supermarkets across the UK witnessed scenes of mayhem as bargain-hunters fought to get their hands on cut-price goods. Police had to be called in to deal with “customer conduct,” which is a typical British understatement. People were at each other’s throats and fighting for leverage while in one bizarre incident hundreds of shoppers firmly refused to leave a store that had sold out their heavily discounted items.

Surprisingly at first, it has been reported that Asda (a British supermarket chain owned by Walmart) who hosted big Black Friday sales in recent years, is essentially pulling the plug on Black Friday this year. But this is not really an altruistic move – they won’t forfeit profit as they will spread their deals throughout the entire holiday season instead… What’s more, the company said its decision was made to address “shopper fatigue setting in around flash sales on big-ticket, nonessential items at Christmas.”

Black Friday sales are also widely available on the internet and at least only result in emptied out credit cards and not physical assault. So far the mania hasn’t quite reached Asia General but Black Friday sales are already being offered online in India, introduced by eBay this year.

Last but not least there is REI, the American outdoors and apparel retailer who made big waves with their decision to remain closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year, encouraging people to go outdoors and enjoy nature instead of shopping. Also this decision has obviously not much to do with any insight but makes for good publicity without having to deal with the madness.

Happy holidays y’all!

Bhagawati

 

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