What is Black Friday?
Back in the 1950s/ 1960’s, police in the city of Philadelphia, USA used the term ‘Black Friday’ to describe the chaos that erupted on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists headed into the city before the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.
No days off for the cops and with extra-long shifts dealing with the additional traffic, crowds and grand scale shop lifting that took place while shops were overwhelmed by the additional influx of people – the Black Friday moniker soon stuck.
Sometime in the late 1980s, however, retailers found a way to reinvent Black Friday. With a swift marketing spin the story of how they had been in the ‘red’ all year and were finally turning a profit the day after Thanksgiving was created (In fact, stores traditionally see bigger sales on the Saturday before Christmas.)
A relative newcomer to British shores Black Friday along with Cyber Monday, its online analogue, really took hold in collective conscious in 2010 when Amazon UK started offering deals on the day and other shops followed suit.
In recent years Black Friday and Cyber Monday has rapidly become one of the biggest fixtures in the British shopping calendar. This pre- Christmas shopping bonanza is a breeding ground for the epidemic of Affluneza - mentioned in last week’s FARA blog
Richard Denniss writing for theguardian.com introduces the notion of Affluenza. The ‘Patient Zero’ of this modern plague was the first person to fall foul of consumerism, as defined as the love of buying things, when the excitement of hunting for a bargain and the “thrill of the chase” (an oxymoronic notion when queueing all day!) of finally getting the latest gadget only provided a transient sense of satisfaction. We are whipped into a frenzy by retailers as they whet our appetites with lust for the best bargains.
Media headlines annually tell of Black Friday tramplings, robberies and ‘chaotic midnight scenes’ of shoppers rabid with rampant Affluenza. We know as a society this conspicuous consumption is not sustainable and will have great cost to the environment for generations to come.
So, think twice before buying for the sake of a good bargain on Black Friday. Or at the very least donate something to a your local charity shop to make way for your latest purchase.