It didn’t take me long to realise that I had made a truly terrible mistake. What I had envisioned was a fun and relatively peaceful weekend in Glasgow shopping for Christmas presents before the madness of exams sets in.
What I got instead was a retail hell of crowds, noise and bargains. I had made a considerable oversight in forgetting that the 27th of November was Black Friday – one of the biggest and busiest shopping days of the year.
It is unsurprising that I hadn’t remembered about Black Friday. Thanksgiving isn’t widely celebrated in Britain, but Black Friday is becoming bigger here every year. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving where shops massively reduce the price of goods at the beginning of the run-up to Christmas.
More and more shops in Britain are now jumping on the bandwagon by giving huge discounts to shoppers, and so are encouraging this US trend over here. In just a few years a little-known shopping holiday has turned into a huge phenomenon, with the sales stretching out across the entire weekend. But this development has come at a price.
As Black Friday has jumped across the pond to the UK, so has its chaos and controversy. Stories of stampedes and injuries often hit the headlines. As shops become mobbed with shoppers looking to grab some early Christmas bargains, sense sometimes goes out of the window. Luckily, these scenes don’t seem to have been repeated this year.
Perhaps this is due to the growth of Black Friday online. Now internet retailers are seeing the advantage of beginning their sales online in the early hours of Friday morning. It’s obvious why this may have a greater appeal than actually going out to the shops – it may be easier (and safer) to do your Black Friday shopping at home.
Despite this growth in Black Friday online, the streets of Glasgow this weekend were still busy enough to make shopping there an unpleasant experience. I don’t know about you, but I like to enjoy my Christmas shopping. Browsing the shops to choose a perfect gift for a loved one is one of my favourite ways to get into the Christmas mood.
Black Friday ruins this image of Christmas by turning this festive treat into an ordeal. I personally don’t see the point of Black Friday – we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, and shops start their Christmas deals well before the end of November. But I have a feeling that Black Friday is only going to grow here and around the world. Many US imports are great, but this new trend is not one of them.