For those not familiar with Black Friday, depending on your age and background, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it might have something to do with a nation’s economy having to withdraw quickly from some Pan-European fiscal system on midweeks last day, to disastrous economic effect. Or for those more musically independent of you, it could be considered to be a side project of Pixies frontman, Mr Francis Black, to further explore the lower depths of human existence over a heavily distorted, and multi-layered, harpsichord.
It is, of course, a new phenomenon– to us here in the UK anyway; a commercial gift from the West, sent to us gift wrapped on the trade winds of commercialism; a present of hope, of yearning, to get the highest quality widescreen TV for the very lowest price.
It seems to have edged its way in previous years into the UK consciousness culminating with a full blown riot in 2014 as people fell over themselves as electronic doors slid open on startled electrical retail staff who’d wished they’d switched their days off that day.
For those hoping your humble tailor might be taking part, we’re sorry to inform – or you’ll be pleased to hear – we are not. You can, however, find examples of our work right here.
So what is Black Friday all about then?
Well, it’s American in origin; North American to be precise. As for how colour’s darkest shade became attached to our fifth day of the week is up for discussion.
It is always the day after Thanksgiving – where Americans give thanks for that year’s harvest – and is often a day off allowing for that wonderful collection of:
Weekdays + Public Holiday + Weekend (commonly known as a) = Four-day Weekend
Some argue that the name originated, not in commerce, but out of more automotive reasons in that – being after Thanksgiving – roads and freeways were jammed with folk returning home with the Philadelphia police department, circa 1961, labelling it Black Friday. So rather a celebration of commercialism it rather hampered it with merchants complaining at the time of the lack of business on this day.
Another explanation is when retailers – depending on their financial year – see a return to the black after previously trading in its economic opposite, red.
Either way, it’s here in the UK. Like fuel on the fire, news editors provide more oxygen to a phenomenon that may already be waning stateside as customers get wise to retail chicanery. With eyes to the sky, the question is being asked: Am I truly getting a good deal? Time.com’s Money think not – in this rather excellent article on the subject. UK retailers Argos and Asda have pulled out this year saying they want to avoid the chaotic scenes of last year and focus instead on promotions that run over more than one day.
It does though look like we’ve adopted Black Friday for now – along with other countries around the world. Whether it will last or whether it passes through a British prism and transitions into a practice of orderly queuing and respect for your fellow shopper remains to be seen.
So for those who dislike or are ambivalent to that spiritual pastime shopping, do please carry on as you were. For those familiar with the hallowed aisles of your chosen shop, the daily changing room confessionals and the trinity of customer, product and seller, may you find the deal of all deals today on your own personal Black Friday.