Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday: A Worldwide Event

Black Friday, the first official shopping day of the Christmas season AND the day after Thanksgiving has moved across the Atlantic into Britain!

Who knew? And they don't even celebrate Thanksgiving. There are also reports of Black Friday occurring in India, Mexico, Canada, Romania, and France! The international flavor of commerce and especially eCommerce is bringing the blight of the American shopping season to a country near you!

One of the funniest articles that I have read in a long while was in this morning's New York Times titled, Britain Adopts Black Friday With an All-American Frenzy

In the article, I learned a new word, contained in the follow excerpted paragraph:

The explanation for how Britons came to embrace Black Friday seems to reside in a mix of canny unbridled capitalist opportunism, the fetishizing of things American, the explosion of online shopping and two giant retailers called Walmart and Amazon.

Do not misunderstand, although the article is humorous, it is a serious examination of how a uniquely American phenomenon has spread across an ocean and is having negative impacts on other nations and cultures.

My family is dialing back the Black Friday madness this year. No one went shopping at midnight and the shoppers in the crowd are heading out at a reasonable 9AM to risk life and limb for the remaining sale items.

In truth, Black Friday has expanded this year--I have been getting Black Friday special buys from retailers for almost two weeks now. November, it seems, is becoming a month-long series of Black Fridays.

The final paragraphs of the article provide an interesting view of Black Friday. 

Valerie Faulkner, 41, an assistant producer at an events company who was walking through the store, said she initially had no idea that Black Friday was an American tradition until she searched for it on Google.

“I don’t think most people realize it’s an American custom,” she said. “I just assumed it was some marketing ploy by shops to get rid of lousy, unwanted items before Christmas.”

Sadly, her opinion is more truth than we may suspect. I saw a news show that warned "buyer beware" on some of the deeply discounted specials as they may be of inferior quality and consist of items special built for the Black Friday frenzy.

Happy Black Friday. May all of your shopping be online!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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