What’s with all this Black Friday stuff – we’re British!

It’s Thanksgiving Day, so I’ll start by wishing all the Americans out there Happy Holidays. And happy Black Friday, too, if shopping is your thing.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Black Friday. I’ve noticed several retailers using this term this morning and I don’t care for it. Not on this side of the Atlantic, anyway. Because really, Black Friday doesn’t make sense over here, where we don’t have the last Thursday of November off for a big get-together, and roll it over into a long weekend. If you Stateside people want to call tomorrow Black Friday, that’s fine by me. But let’s keep our nations divided by a single language, on this point at least. The world becomes a less interesting place every time we slavishly and thoughtlessly adopt the customs of another nation as our own.

And besides, much as I like the odd bit of retail therapy, I really don’t see the need to whip up some kind of hysterical compulsion for all of us Brits to hit the stores tomorrow, rather than any other day. Or for us to make like Walmart – and that includes you, Asda. I know you’re the same company under the skin but frankly, any association with a company that underpays its staff so chronically that it expects them to give tins to each other for a Thanksgiving dinner, sounds like one to play down to me.

Austerity blogger Jack Monroe, who knows a thing or two about surviving a penniless festive season, has some wise words on gifting this morning. If I felt inclined to celebrate Black Friday at all, I’d probably do so by following her advice. If there are people on your list that know or care so little about your circumstances that they’d expect you to give them something they don’t really need when you’re struggling to put food on the table, then they shouldn’t be there. Wal-Mart might not care for that approach, but I’m sure they’ll survive without any further advertising.

Now that’s out of the way, happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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4 thoughts on “What’s with all this Black Friday stuff – we’re British!

  1. I have an American friend who works for a large upmarket retail chain, in their phone center. He needs to be at work tonight at 8:00pm, actually on Thanksgiving Day, because the chain is opening their door Thanksgiving evening in the hope of getting a larger share of Black Friday (or, now, I suppose, Black Thursday) retail dollars. It being a national holiday does him very little good, because it isn’t *required* that everything shut down. It’s just tradition that it does. I do hope, for Britain’s sake, that this sort of thing – opening on Christmas, perhaps, for Boxing Day sales? – does not also become a British custom.

  2. We do still have some regulation of Sunday opening hours – maximum of six (except in Scotland), agreed by local authorities. In theory, I’ve no problem with shops opening whenever they like, but in practice this means further exploitation of people on low-income, zero hours contracts just so the rest of us can have a little more convenience.

    There are so many great American customs – why can’t we import some of those? (Although you’ll never get me liking egg nog, I’m afraid!)

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Thank you Miranda. I know what you are saying. I live in the states, and I wish the stores would have been closed today. I wish they could use another saying the day after Thanksgiving.

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