Black Friday just happened. While rampant consumerism, relentless marketing and being elbowed in the face over the last half price Babyliss Big Hair are never exactly edifying, I find myself increasingly irritated by the snarky comments of UK media types hooting with derision at the great unwashed stampeding to snag themselves a bargain.
What’s the difference between that and the ‘British Eccentrics’ camping out in freezing January temperatures outside Harrods? Or Next?!
Ok Black Friday is slightly more frenzied and violent than the genteel whimsy of the latter but these are desperate times.
And anyway the UK is no stranger to High Street crowd control and public order issues. What about every time H&M do a designer collabo? Those woman trampling each other to grab an armful of cheap Balmain would send even Chelsea FC’s notorious ‘Headhunters’ running for cover.
At least Black Friday is a well timed event, coming a few weeks before The Most Expensive Time of The Year. Or Christmas as it used to be known in the Christian Calendar.
So while I agree that consumerism is a trap by multi-national corporations employing the misplaced genius of the advertising industry to keep us, the people, in servitude and debt to The Man. And I too, worry about the rights, pay and working hours of people in the lowly paid retail sector (if this applies to you, please join Usdaw, they are doing great work) I fail to see the difference between Black Friday and our traditional January sales.
So what if it’s the day after an American Holiday? Are we so insecure about our national identity that we carp about genuinely useful, or fun stuff that we’ve imported from the States? (See also people moaning about Halloween. Or Proms. WTF? We always had proms, they were just called Leaver’s Discos or whatever.)
I would love it if we lived in an age in which people felt they did not need to buy shit to make themselves feel happy or better about themselves, but we do.
And the reality is, for the increasing number of cash strapped people living under austerity, a big discount at the end of November could help them afford the pricey toys and electronics their children want for Christmas.
And yes of course poor kids should be perfectly happy with some homemade gingerbread and a satsuma but I’m here to tell you they want a Wii , Star Wars Lego and Nike trainers, just like your kids.
Evidently those bitching about Black Friday seem to be those who can afford to pay full price or get a load of stuff sent to them for free.
So the least they could do in this supposedly gratitude-centric time of year is give thanks for what they have and turn a blind eye to the spectacle of bargain grabbing of those who have not.
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