Black madness

Black madness

by Jackie Anderson
article from Friday 24, November, 2017

FIVE YEARS AGO no one predicted that Black Friday would be a bigger shopping event than our traditional Christmas shopping. Yet another American import that the retailers have embraced with gusto, generating over £7 billion for our shops and online retailers. Apparently, while Christmas is about buying for family and friends, Black Friday is about self-gifting, with white goods, TV’s, mobile phones, computers and video games being at the top of our lists.

I’ve never understood people who get up in the early hours of Boxing Day morning to stand for hours for sale bargains, which by definition is stock that no one wanted to buy in the run up to Christmas. I’m usually all shopped-out, broke, and the thought of standing in any shopping queue is enough to make me take to the drink, again.

I’ve embraced online shopping like everyone else, it’s easy and can be done in the comfort of my home, but a trip to the shops is inevitable.

Retailers say that half of all Britons will succumb to the lure of a Black Friday bargain. To tempt us the original price quoted is usually the highest price it’s been sold at throughout the year, so it looks like a tremendous bargain, but if you can hold your nerve the Black Friday price will come down yet again after the event to get rid of unsold items.

Black Friday is an American tradition along with Thanksgiving but we’ve started, bizarrely, to celebrate this too. This was once an exclusive American holiday for obvious reasons but our magazines and newspapers have been full of recipes to celebrate this holiday. I find it hard to believe that the British housewife will make a pre-Christmas Turkey, cornbread, Green Bean Casserole and Chocolate Brownies whilst watching the New York Giants play the Washington Redskins (hubby’s team) but this is what they would have us believe with all our major supermarkets pushing this event, held on the last Thursday of November. 

The Sunday Times published recipes for Pumpkin Pie and candied sweet potatoes, I kid you not. Not sure what the PC police would make of giving our children candied potatoes with our supposed obesity problem, if chips are a no-no for kids why are candied potatoes okay? The answer; because it’s an American tradition. Unless you’re an ex-pat American I just can’t see the relevance of celebrating Thanksgiving.

For Black Friday Argos has hired 10,000 extra staff and are one of the retailers who have been allowed to trial new 50-foot lorries to bring the stuff we want to stores. It’s not actually one day, it’s nearly two weeks, with Amazon for the last nine days sending me Black Friday bargains, so I’m presuming there’s lots of these juggernauts on our roads at the moment.

A couple of years ago there was a full scale riot in Asda in the north west of London, believe it or not, over cut price Televisions, with the year before a stabbing at an Ikea over a cut price sofa ! Extra security has to be hired for all these events to prevent violence occurring, my solution ? Easy, don’t have it.

Are we so desperate to celebrate anything that we are now forced to import other country’s traditions ? A travesty when our own tradition of celebrating Christmas has been so downgraded over the last few years. Santa is now seen as stereotyping, nativity plays are rarely done in primary schools for the same reason, also in case we offend minorities.

It would seem though that the “Black “in Black Friday gets a body swerve from the PC police although there’s bound to be someone somewhere who objects to this. This is the same insanity where a woman, reported in the papers this week, objected to her primary school daughter reading Sleeping Beauty – as the prince has to kiss the princess to wake her out of her slumber. The reason given by her was that this was an unsolicited kiss and gives the wrong message to children. Absolutely unbelievable, but these are the people who can decide what’s better for the rest of us. 

Halloween has now been hijacked and our own tradition of celebrating Guy Fawkes Night and scooping out American pumpkins has replaced the yearly chore of coring out the hard turnip. When did it become the norm to buy all these Halloween outfits for our children ? My kids had dooking for apples and a Bran Scone hung from a string and dripping with treacle, which they had to eat blindfolded. All good fun and still remembered by them but I’m betting this is rarely done today. It’s all about dressing up and Trick or Treating. How depressing that we are willing to let our own traditions go to the wall and replace them with foreign events.

Let’s go back to our own traditions of the January sales for the mad, and not feel we are offending anyone with our Merry Christmas traditions. Yeah Gods, we will be celebrating Bastille Day next, mark my words.

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