Writing Prompts: Black Friday

A celebration of thanks…
Gives way to a mad frenzy.

There is a certain irony about the insanity that is Black Friday. The (largely) north American phenomenon sees shoppers go absolutely berserk in quests to obtain incredibly huge discounts off various items. Consumers will literally fight in the aisles to obtain the best bargains, and people have been known to be trampled in a bid to be the first into a store. All of this takes place just one day after Thanksgiving, which is a day of being generous, and being grateful.

Another irony is that Black Friday’s deals are often no better than they are at other points of the year, but such is the lure of it that shoppers still go nuts. Even the rise of online retailers (such as Amazon, which heavily pushes Black Friday deals) has not blunted the shop rush. The staggering scale to which people will rush to get these superficially good offers has led to violent attacks, including shootings, and sadly even deaths, which boggles this meerkat’s mind. The Black Friday deals are, in this day and age, often available across several days, and many deals can be ordered online, without having to brave stores, so rushing out to grab a new TV is all about instant gratification.

Then again, such is the weight of online traffic that some sites crash, leaving shoppers in the void: a stressful, awkward void. A lot of retailers are prepared for it, but it’s taken time to truly grasp the demand for these offers.

Black Friday (and for that matter, Thanksgiving) often creates a problem for employees in retail outlets. Extra staff are often brought in, but sometimes staff who have booked time off well in advance end up having their holiday rescinded, because someone else has resigned. This in turn causes a lot of tension, as people have already made plans for their time off. There are numerous horror stories on TikTok and via Facebook of employers trying to strong-arm employees into working on their time off, usually with disastrous results.

This craziness has started to become mainstream in the UK too. In my line of work, this is less of a problem, but in places like supermarkets (ASDA, Tesco etc), or electronics retailers like Currys, there is now added pressure, as unfortunately, UK shoppers are adopting some of the poorer habits of US shoppers. All of this, as mentioned, is deeply ironic, considering what Thanksgiving is meant to represent, and it seems the message of Thanksgiving is one that society at large could do with remembering.

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