Let’s be honest: I hadn’t heard of Black Friday until three years ago. It just wasn’t a thing here in the UK, not until Amazon.co.uk decided they were going to introduce this load of codswallop to their UK online store. Then, of course, the high street stores picked up on it two years ago. There was mayhem. There was a video on the news about some woman in an Asda in Manchester punching a security guard in the face over a TV that was an eighth of the price.
The rest of the country, meanwhile, adopted the national motto: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Black Friday came back again last year, but thankfully the fad had ended here in the UK. People went on as normal; shops were disappointed. It was as though the whole thing had never happened.
This year, most stores just haven’t bothered. Only the biggest chains and the supermarkets have some sort of offer advertised by the main door, while the rest of the retail stores have put the sales in the most sensible place – online.
Because Black Friday just doesn’t work here in the UK. Here’s why:
The American Thanksgiving usually falls on the fourth Thursday of November and, for most Americans, the Friday is a public holiday as well. The schools are out all week. Adults have the Thursday-through-Sunday off work. It’s the end of the month, people are available, and are getting their salary and are willing to spend it on the Black Friday sales.
However, here in the UK Black Friday is just a normal day. Arguably, it’s the last pay day before Christmas, but there’s no public holiday here. People are in work, kids are in school, there’s no one around to spend money. After three failed years, the shops have finally cottoned on to this. They’ve extended the sales to maximise their potential. Now, they’re Black Friday disguised as “The last payday before Christmas weekend sale”.
But that sounds rather silly, doesn’t it?
Perhaps Black Friday sounds better after all.