When I logged into my Facebook account this morning I saw several posts regarding Black Friday. If you don’t know what it is, it’s one day of the year that shops slash their prices and customers can snap up a great bargain on a huge variety of products. From technology, clothing and toiletries. Black Friday has it’s roots in America, the day after Thanksgiving when the US retailers do exactly the same thing: slash their prices. (It’s not the only day of the year in the UK when people can snap up a bargain either, Boxing Day is up there too, kicking off the Christmas/ January sales).
I believe it was introduced to the UK three, maybe four years ago. Things got a bit… chaotic last year when Asda (part of the US Walmart brand) opened its doors and customers were literally falling over each other and arguing about just how many TV’s one person could really need to buy. Scenes dominated the new screens and the breaking news updates about how awful the situation was.
The key is about execution of the day. I was working last year, but did browse Amazon and got a few items, mainly a new set of interchangeable knitting needles. That was fine, it was online. I certainly didn’t go out, and still managed to get a little bargain. (Of course, if you’re not into knitting, then it’s a useless bargain, but certainly for me it was useful). This year I knew that I wanted to buy something Apple related for a Christmas present. I wasn’t going to hold out for today, to be perfectly honest, as I’d heard that Apple wasn’t going to partake in Black Friday, so assumed that retailers may not either. However, I was awake at 5am, not because I wanted to be, but because my partner had to get up for work at that time. I was browsing online whilst he got ready for work, and tried going back to sleep. It just wasn’t happening this morning.
At 6am, the deals went live on Currys. I reserved the item I wanted, which had a little bit of money off, and then headed to the store about 8.30. Traffic was calm, end of the school/rush hour. The car park was relatively empty and the store wasn’t exactly busy. I was able to get my item (after a short wait where I was contemplating whether the sales guy at to assemble it from scratch as well as sell it). Item in hand, I was able to leave just as calmly as I had entered.
Like I said – it’s all about the execution of the event. The stores have learnt from the mistakes from previous years, and have certainly gone out of their way to prevent the chaos from previous years as well. Having a week long event helps in that as well.
I like Black Friday as it gives consumers a chance to get that bargain. Perhaps, for those of us that are on lower incomes can have the opportunity to get better deals that we could get otherwise. I mean, if I could have waited for my new oven I would have considered waiting for this week, but we couldn’t, not really. We’re already running on stove top dinners that can get a bit… dull. And fussy, when you have a partner that is a fussy eater and eats a lot of oven chips.
There are people out there that assume that just because consumers like to feel like they are saving money that they are turned into drones by the government. It’s sad that one day of the year could have the potential to make or break a shops fortunes, but that doesn’t make the the general public a drone. My favourite knitting shop usually has a sale one day of the year – not Black Friday – and whether or not I’ll need the yarn, I’ll have a look and possibly buy something. That doesn’t make me a drone. That makes me a sensible shopper.
I think what I’m really getting at here is this: it’s okay to like things that other people don’t. What’s not okay, really, is to shove that opinion down someone else’s throat/the realm of Facebook, just because you don’t like the idea of people shopping on one day of the year. People are independent, able to make their own minds up with what they want to do. Facing the potential crowds is just one of them.