Black Friday is Here Again – For Good or Ill
Tony Öhberg contributed to this report.
The social media is filled with advertisements of cheap electronics. The jewelry stores at the Northern Esplanade in Helsinki offer discounts in jewelry. A beggar in his dirty corduroy pants asks for coins to his paper cup next to an ad that promises to slice 70 percent off from the price of men’s clothes. The capital letters above the advertisement scream “Black Friday.”
Black Friday, the American shopping frenzy following the Thanksgiving holiday and marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, is celebrated today in Finland with a push that seems bigger than ever. In the past few years, Finnish companies have succumbed to the trend, offering special discounts. Today we keep browsing the stores even if we are not planning to buy anything. It’s almost like all the other American traditions; it’s supposed that we offer love year around, but Valentine’s Day makes us official lovers.
For example, Gigantti, the home electronics giant, sold double the amount on one single day last year, for over 10 million euros, breaking all its previous records.
But there are people who don’t buy it. As a matter of fact, they urge you to not buy anything. Suomen Luonto-Liitto, the Finnish nature organization, is promoting a “Don’t Buy Anything Day.” “Our culture, which is based on consumption, will not carry us far. Overconsumption has catastrophic effects on our environment and it won’t make any of us happy,” said Leo Stranius, the secretary general of the organization, in a bulletin.
Today, the shops are full of stuff. There is so much variety that, when our parents enter in, they wonder what is the stuff for. And then the shop assistant arrives and with a big smile delivers the line, the motto, he had to learn so well to be hired. It’s different; it’s special. “The vacuum cleaner is better than any you had before. Expensive? Sure. But this is the new trend and that is already a promise of quality.”
I wonder, how many people buy two items of the same product just because they are on discount. Just because the shop assistant knew how to deliver a line? Even if the goods have to be kept in the attic until the first one will stop working? Well . . . many.
I once went to a supermarket with a friend of mine. We were supposed to buy eggs and milk. But near the eggs department, there was a huge cardboard promoting smoked salmon. “Wow! That’s so cheap! I am going to buy it!” my friend exclaimed. He was so happy of making a great deal! In fact, the small discount was never a deal, because my friend didn’t have the smoked salmon on the shopping list.
And that’s how the world works. For good or ill.
Black Black is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States -falling anywhere between November 23 and 29. While it’s not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off -except those working in retail.
The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.