I’m sure we’re all familiar with Black Friday – that one day in the American calendar when major retailers open early and offer massively discounted prices, drawing in a horde of customers who will likely barge their way through each other in order to get some of their Christmas shopping done as early as possible. As many people also know, Black Friday is also notorious for the levels of violence that ensue amidst a shopping frenzy gone mad (to the point that it was inevitably parodied in South Park).
Of course, all that used to be just an American phenomenon, but now, in a rather worrying twist of fate, it has made its way to UK shores, and it looks like it’s here to stay. Initially, the only UK retailers that observed Black Friday were online retailers like Amazon (which still has Black Friday deals every year). Last year, however, Asda began rolling out Black Friday in stores, and after that apparently was successful, other UK retailers began adopting Black Friday, along with its shaky sales tactics.
Naturally, UK stores were swamped by rampaging shoppers competing for discounts, and instances where the police have intervened and made arrests. Fortunately, I was in college at the time, but I heard about it, and it didn’t take me too long to form an opinion.
For me, Black Friday’s UK arrival is simply the next step in the homogenization of British culture into a more American culture. The fact that it’s Black Friday is even worse because, as far as I’m concerned, Black Friday is merely an over-glorified orgy of materialistic animalism that serves no purpose other than to oil the machine of consumer culture. It proves that you can easily get people to buy into a consumerist mindset by combining an already commercial holiday with hugely discounted prices on items that retailers know people will want to buy for Christmas.
For someone like me, who opposes the new dogma of consumer culture, to actually experience something like that would be literally my idea of Hell. Everybody going with the flow and degenerating themselves into something less than animals just for some Christmas shopping that you could easily do online, and without the hassle of being mobbed to near death by a crowd of frenzied shoppers. To me, Black Friday represents madness, but apparently people are fine with it, and by the time I’ve written this post, stores are probably still open in America, and the madness might have died down here in the UK. In spite of that, I know that this will continue year after year, as many people will continue to lose themselves to the frenzied madness as the Christmas season begins. In a way, everything I’ve written here about Black Friday will still be relevant, because the offers of Black Friday are so seductive to the masses that it seems that nobody ever learns from the previous year.