Saturday, 29 November 2014

Black Friday Hits the UK

Black Friday is one of the latest American imports in to the UK - a day of mass reductions in shops, following the US holiday of Thanksgiving. Similar to our Boxing Day sales, people flock to the shops, including supermarkets, to get their hands on discounted goods. Clothing, electronics, furniture and a whole manner of other wares are all included in the promotions, which came in to popularity in the UK only a couple of years ago. As you have most likely noticed on Boxing Day, these sales can bring with them a manic treachery. People can be animals. Shoving, swearing, arguing, abuse of staff are all common practice it seems. If you can't fight for yourself then you don't stand a chance. You will have no doubt seen the crazy scenes at Tesco's up and down the country, with one woman being dragged a long the floor whilst clutching a television reduced by 50%. However, I've noticed from the press coverage that clothing stores have been somewhat more civilised. Or perhaps, they were just overshadowed by incidents at the supermarkets, with 7 police vans being required to keep the peace at one.

Image: North News & Pictures Ltd.

Civilised queues in Newcastle's Eldon Square, this image being of shoppers outside Game waiting to get their hands on discounted consoles and games. 

Image: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph

Here you can see a fairly small crowd gathered outside John Lewis on Oxford Street, London, waiting patiently to get inside just before the store's opening hours begin.

Image: Geoff Pugh/The Teleraph

Roped off queues maintain order outside the Nike store at London/s Oxford Circus, only allowing a limited number of people in store at once. It all seems a bit more organised and prepared at these stores, when compared to supermarkets, and this would make your trip a bit less stressful (and a whole lot less likely you'll be in need of medical attention). 

Additionally, online stores did not escape the Black Friday madness that has swept our nation this year. A number of websites, such as Curry's and Topshop, were so overcome by visitor traffic that people trying to gain access were confronted by apology notices and requests to just wait your turn. However, this is surely the preferred way to shop these sort of events - you don't have the stress of having to shove your way around or have to argue with someone over who saw an item first. Simply, if it's gone then it's gone; you will be okay with that in the end and learn to move on with your life.

It's easy to laugh at the unbelievable nature that is drawn out of some people at these times, but we have to remember the poor staff with no choice other than to serve these feral beings. It's fortunate the police were there to remind people that our species was civilised long ago:

The staff are simply doing their job and trying to help you out - if you're not happy with what's on offer then it's not their fault...

I love sales probably more than most people, and would happily trawl through rail after rail if it meant I'd find a bargain I would actually wear. But, not all people think like this. One woman told The Guardian, “I got a Dyson but I don’t even know if I want it. I just picked it up." 

Is a few quid off something you probably wouldn't have bought otherwise really worth losing your sanity and self-respect?

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