It’s here at last, the day I’ve been waiting for, Black Friday!
I’ve purposefully not started my Christmas shopping yet, even though TV adverts have been trying to tease me into making Yuletide purchases since November 1.
Instead, I’ve been lying in wait like a panther, credit card in hand, ready to pounce and devour unsuspecting bargains.
In particular I’m looking to buy a Wii U for my son for Christmas, though I’m pretty sure I won’t have much luck in getting any huge reduction on this games console, which will be a children’s Christmas list favourite. I’ve been hesitant, nay, scared to buy one before today just in case Wii U prices tumble like Jennifer Lawrence on a red carpet. That’s what Black Friday has done to me, it’s enticed me in with its allure of potential bargains and price slashes. I have been rendered unable to buy for fear of missing out on massive reductions, and I’m not alone. UK retailers experienced a drop in sales last month, according to industry figures, suggesting that shoppers are putting off spending while they hold out for discounts in Black Friday flash sales.
I first became aware of Black Friday two years ago when the television news showed footage of shoppers being trampled as they fought for cut price television sets. Scenes described as ‘bedlam’ took place in Northern Ireland supermarkets in 2013 resulting in police having to be called to disturbances.
Last year saw more chaos in shops all over the UK as shoppers descended like locusts on bargains and police had to attend at many stores, as scuffles and disputes broke out between customers. This year Asda has made the decision not to take part in Black Friday and will instead spread discounts across the entire Christmas period. Police have warned shops to make sure they have adequate security to deal with any chaos that may arise from frantic bargain seekers.
Shoppers are warned to prepare for huge crowds and scuffles.
Black Friday originated in the US and was introduced to the UK several years ago by Amazon.
An American website blackfridaydeathcount.com morbidly keeps a tally of the number of shoppers killed or injured on Black Friday in the US since 2006.
The toll currently stands at seven deaths and 98 injuries!
It’s awful to think that people have actually died for a bargain and many more have been hurt in the hysteria.
Admittedly, I’ve felt a frisson of excitement each time I’ve thought about shopping on this date. I also feel a sense of urgency.
I need to be involved in this; I don’t want to be left out. I want to shop and I know if I can’t get what I want I will buy something else, anything else that seems like a bargain. What are these strange sensations the promise of a bargain are creating in me? According to psychologists our Black Friday buying escapades are the fault of our ancestors.
The idea of bringing home reduced-price bargains at the end of the day has a badge of honour.
It is very similar to our primitive hunter-gatherer urges.
That drive to bring home the bacon is largely behind why we start hunting for deals days or weeks before the event (which I have!). Just like our ancestors stalked the mammoth, we begin stalking the net for bargains, getting a strategy together to enable us to plan our attack and conquer the mighty price cut beast.
The idea that these bargains are only available for a limited time taps into some primal, survivalist instinct within us. Our ancestors would gather food in order to be ready for times of scarcity and a throwback element of this is sparked off in our brains as we brave the sales and fight for those bargains, bringing them home and hoarding them, whether we need them or not.
Time limited bargains re-awakens our primitive urges, though it’s no longer the woolly mammoth we hunter-gatherers are in search of, it’s Nutribullets and plasma televisions we drag back to our caves.
Actually I can’t write about discount shopping any longer.
I’m terrified I’m going to miss out on hoarding myself some cheap buys. I’m off to the shops to risk life and limb for a bargain. Fingers crossed my Black Friday doesn’t turn into black and blue Saturday!