CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Black Friday sales have no relevance to us here in Hampshire - opinion page

PUBLISHED: 11:59 12 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:05 12 January 2015


Did you sell your soul to the seasonal sales? When did getting a good deal come to mean rolling about in the aisles and wrestling with strangers like Neanderthals? Alice Cooke asks, ‘have I missed something here?’

Christmas is a time for giving, but for most (wrongly or rightly) it’s shopping and grabbing a bargain that takes centre stage. And this year was no different. The whole thing kicked off in farcical style as miniature riots ensued country-wide on Black Friday.

What is Black Friday? – Well you may well ask, because it is not something that you might be familiar with. The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later, an alternative explanation was offered – retailers traditionally operate at a financial loss (in the red) from January through to November, and Black Friday indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or in the black.

Black Friday is not English, it’s not British and it’s not even European – it has absolutely no relevance to us here in Hampshire and as far as I can see is just an excuse to put on a sale and whip everyone up into a frenzy - totally bizarre.

Did all those who stampeded to the shops like wildebeest also celebrate other far more important international days, like Constitution Day (the anniversary of a referendum held in Spain on December 1978. In this referendum, a new constitution was approved, an important step in Spain’s transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy), or Anzac Day (an antipodean day of remembrance commemorating all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations, in case you were wondering). And at least if you choose to mark either of these days you are remembering something important, something relevant, something with a worthy point. Not something basically put there to make big retailers more money.

I don’t know how Black Friday got here, but I would suspect that it has something to do with Asda being owned by Wamart? (This could be unfounded…all alternative suggestions gratefully received.) But however it reached us the issue is two-fold – one that it even got here at all, and two that we used it – and increasingly the whole of the rest of the Christmas season – as an excuse to behave like savages.

When did it ever become acceptable to become violent towards others in pursuit of a bargain? When did it become ok to wrestle like children on the floor in order to save a bit of money on a flat-screen television? When did the British public take leave of their senses? If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.

Is this now what Christmas is about? I am very aware that this message gets touted about every year, but maybe there’s a very good reason for that. I leave you with the very opposite of a Bah Humbug – bring back Christmas and all it should really mean!



26 new things to try in Hampshire this year

Hampshire neighbours create character and book encouraging children to enjoy the outdoors

10 minutes with Mike Hancock - Portsmouth Dockyard

More from Out & About

Blow away the Christmas cobwebs on a walk with fine views and a striking memorial

Read more
Yesterday, 14:07

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:06

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search