"Black Friday" sounds like the name of a 19th century mining disaster or when the pound was devalued by 50% in a single day's trading, but it is in fact an American tradition. It's the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday not celebrated in the
Kingdom, but is popular in the USA,
several other places. Thanksgiving is held on the last Thursday of November and
another tradition has developed for the following day: high street sales. Like
Boxing Day in the UK,
Black Friday is when all the major store chains offer exclusive and generous discounts
for just one day; it's a clever way of disposing of their surplus stock quickly
to free their shelves up for a new seasonal range. People are so keen to get
their hands on dirt cheap goods that they'll sometimes queue overnight,
sleeping in tents, for the doors to open in the morning. The fervour is
sometimes so great that keeping order becomes a problem and this year has been
one of the worst. In fact in a couple of places riots broke out, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg45oMdA6gk.
Gareth of The Mind Set Podcast lives in Los Angeles
and he attended a Black Friday sale. He describes his experience in this show,
There was no violence at the shop he went to, but he felt tension under the surface.
If anybody had pushed ahead in the queue or two people had tried to pick up the
same last $229.99 fifty inch plasma screen TV, blows would have been traded.
For the first time unruly behaviour associated with the Black Friday frenzy has
spread to other countries, like Northern Ireland, see: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Belfast-woman-has-arm-broken-in-Black-Friday-stampede-to-snap-up-television-233921011.html
and Birkenhead, Merseyside, see: https://www.facebook.com/WirralNewsbeat/posts/628015813927177.
I can understand the enthusiasm for economical shopping; indeed, I walk six miles once a week just to buy a particular brand of tasty and very cheap cheese from a market stall. However these Black Friday scenes are sad spectacles in my view. They're more than just people employing a rational strategy to save money; they're an obsessive and thoughtless insurrection of consumerism. What's more, when I watch them, I imagine what the streets will look like when food and essential groceries become scarce, as the Powers-That-Be are planning to make them to justify the New World Order. We'll be talking about a state of virtual civil war. According to Gareth, a lot of the people who attended the Black Friday sales were poor families who could not afford the items available on any other day of the year; however, do those same families camp outside the office buildings of those who made them so poor in the first place? It seems that the only thing that can arouse the passions of modern urban humanity is the prospect of scooping up some cheap Japanese consumer-durables. It's a shame that these same people don't pour into Houses of Parliament and the Halls of Congress to snatch a government minister off the shelves and shove his head down a toilet... while stocks last.