Paint it Black Friday

The Rolling Stones once sang “Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts, It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black” in their 1966 classic Paint it Black. And here and now today in 2017 it’s Black Friday and our world is turning black.

As a Yorkshireman, an Englishman, a British person* the phenomenon of Black Friday is still pretty new to me. In the UK we are well accustomed to the Boxing Day Sales. However, the thought of dragging myself out on Boxing Day to go shopping fills me with more dread that stepping into a cage with a hungry lion! Of course on-line shopping simplifies matters if you really want to grab a bargain so we’re all good there. But, we now seem to have adopted the US tradition of Black Friday. In case you really don’t know what that is is the Friday after Thanks Giving.Thanks Giving is celebrated in the US on the fourth Thursday of November and is a essentially a celebration of the harvest. Black Friday is basically when shops slash prices and people go crazy to grab a bargain. I have two issues with this.

Firstly, spending money on something you didn’t plan to buy simply because it’s 80% off isn’t actually saving you any money at all. If there is something you want, or preferably need, and you can wait until Black Friday (the same applied to the Boxing Day sales here) then fine – wait and save money. But spending money for the sake of it winds me up no end and that’s one issue with society today. I do try and be measured with spending money on none essentials. I ask myself two important questions; 1, can I afford it and 2, do I/we need it? If the answer to both is yes then go for it – but even then I might decline the opportunity. Like today for example. I NEED a new pair of road running shoes because my current pair have clocked up 1300km and are wearing out. I do a lot of running and they are a tool rather than a luxury item. I can tick the “I need it” box there. I bargain hunted and settled on a pair that (including delivery) would cost just under Β£40 so then I look at the “can I afford it” box. Technically the answer is “yes I can”. However, I then apply some considerations such as Helen’s birthday next week and the fast approaching spend-a-thon also known as Christmas with four girls. I wonder if that Β£40 could be better spent (or saved). I decide that I can make my current trainers last a few more weeks until the Boxing Day/New Year sales.

My second issue is that people go crazy. I mean, bat shit, fruit loop crazy about Black Friday. You see people go bananas in shops and physically fighting over goods (usual large screen TVs) and generally being absolute arseholes all for the sake of saving some money buying items they don’t need in the first place. It brings out the depraved depths of humanity and materialistic living. It’s disgusting. Really, it is.

Frankly, I don’t know why us Brits have adopted black Friday. Oh, yes it’s because companies have imported the concept for us and told us we want it. Commercialism at it’s absolute best. Well, it’s not for me. I will of course take advantage if there is something I need and can wait for a price drop but please stop calling it Black Friday. Crikey – we’ll be cooking Turkey in November next and sitting down for a Thanks Giving holiday!

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