Apparently We Have Black Friday in the UK Now?!

Black Friday
photo credit: sea turtle via photopin cc

Apparently we have Black Friday in the UK now. Turns out it’s been creeping in for a few years, but didn’t enter my radar until yesterday when I happened to catch a TV advertisement for a retailer’s Black Friday deals. This morning I decided to go online to see what Black Friday deals I could find, and discovered that even at 7am, the websites of major retailers were overloaded and I couldn’t get in to them. One site even offered me a queue number to wait in line to see the bargains. That’s right, like at the deli counter! I’m supposed to sit here staring at the computer screen, clutching my virtual ticket, waiting for my number to be called. As if I don’t have anything better to do. You know, like writing a blog post about it instead.

For those outside of the US who don’t know, Black Friday is a day of big retail sales that comes the day after Thanksgiving, semi-officially kicking off the Christmas shopping season.  It’s a day-after-Thanksgiving-thing, and we don’t have Thanksgiving in the UK. But as we do love to take on American things over here, we seem to have taken on the day-after-Thanksgiving-thing, without having the Thanksgiving thing.

But wait! I say we don’t have Thanksgiving here, and it turns out I’m wrong about that too. I should have realised what was happening when I started to see Libby’s canned pumpkin for sale in our supermarkets. I did a bit of online searching  and discovered that according to this article in the Telegraph, one in six British people now celebrate Thanksgiving. I had no idea.  The history of Thanksgiving makes it a little strange for us to be celebrating it here, but that’s ok, I’m all for it actually. Friends and Family getting together to share a delicious meal and think about what they’re thankful for. It’s a good thing right? After all, Thanksgiving would hardly be the only festival that is celebrated without much thought being given to the history behind it.

Interestingly, alongside this, I have seen blog posts and comments from Americans, lamenting the demise of the traditional Thanksgiving over there, with families getting together less, and retailers, too anxious to wait for Black Friday, opening on Thanksgiving day itself…hold on a cotton picking minute…do you see what’s happening here? That’s right, we are slowly and very sneakily stealing Thanksgiving from the Americans!  Gradually taking it as our own as the Americans stand there helplessly watching it sail across the pond. Oh the irony.

Back to today. Not wanting to be outdone by our American friends, I already see online news items talking about police being called to calm down surging crowds at UK Black Friday sales, with fights breaking out and arrests being made. I do love a good bargain myself, but I really have no desire to be part of all that. So instead I shall just sit here, clutching my virtual ticket, staring at my screen, and waiting for my number to be called.

What do you do for Thanksgiving, and/or Black Friday? What else do you think us Brits should adopt from America? (If there’s anything left that we haven’t yet adopted).

——————————————–
Finally a quick belated congratulations to Linda Larrabee! Linda is the lucky winner of a $16 Amazon gift card which she won by getting the most right playing Truth or Fiction with author Lorna Lee. Linda doesn’t have a blog herself, she’s just a fan of Lorna’s, and who wouldn’t be, right? If you want to see what the answers were, I’ve updated the original post with the answers in red. If you didn’t win, you can console yourself by reading Lorna’s wonderful book, Never Turn Back, details here. You’re welcome.

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82 responses to “Apparently We Have Black Friday in the UK Now?!

  1. You’d probably like some of the great food we have for Thanksgiving, such as our pecan, sweet potato and pumpkin pies. (Okay, so it’s not treacle tart or McVitie’s digestive biscuits, but still tasty!)

    Yes, the Black Friday craziness seems to get a bit more crazy every year. I dodge the majority of it whenever possible.

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    • Yes, those things are over here now, although still not that common. I’m actually making a pumpkin pie this weekend (I hope it’s ok to make one when it’s after Thanksgiving but not Christmas yet?). I’m not so keen on sweet potato myself, so I really wasn’t keen on the yam and marshmallow thingy that some people make at Thanksgiving when I lived in the states, but other Thanksgiving food, yes please!

      The Black Friday craziness is clearly taking hold here too now!

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  2. A BBC reporter interviewing a ‘retail marketing expert’ who when explaining the profit for the retailers is in all the stuff people buy alongside or instead of the ‘bargains’ which took them to the store BECAUSE “of course, shopping is an irrational pursuit.”
    WTF!! If you find shopping an “irrational pursuit” I would get yourself booked into somewhere safe and secure pretty damn quick..

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  3. Another impressive export from the U.S. You’re welcome, world! At least they named it right. It is black. People have actually been hurt in the stampedes that occur when the stores open their doors.

    I just read an article about one of our more recent exports. ISIS is using weapons that we provided to the Iraq army that were seized, which means we’re using our weapons to fight our weapons. What madness. At least we exported Guardians of the Galaxies. That was pretty cool.

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  4. Like Boxing Day (December 26) Black Friday has turned everyone into zombies who fight for so-called bargains rather than eating brains. I don’t understand it. I don’t like crowds, and especially not fighting ones so I stay home.
    Good idea, Vanessa, do your shopping online. Hope you get a bargain for what you’re looking for. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Please take and keep forever Black Friday. I don’t have the energy this morning to research when exactly we started using that euphemism for wanton consumerism. I had thought, probably mistakenly, that Black Friday had referred to the stock market crash plunging the western world into the Great Depression in October 1929. I am not sure the crash actually happened on a Friday, ergo the lack of pushback from my parents’ generation when department stores started using this term.

    My sister-in-law texted (we don’t tweet) that she was at Walmart last evening at 6:12. I was visiting my mom in a nursing home trying to think of what made me thankful this year. On balance, not a whole lot other than my health and that of my wife and kids.

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    • I did look up why Black Friday is called that when I was writing this post, but as soon as I saw that there is no conclusive answer to that one, I gave up, I don’t need to read other people’s speculations, I could just have some of my own!

      Yep, health for yourself and your loved ones really is the most important thing to be thankful for!

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  6. Hilarious post and truly ironic. Thanks for the smiles this morning. I will stay away from stores, maybe a bit of online shopping and writing Xmas cards. No holiday decorations, another common practice this weekend. As wonderful as hubby is, he is quite a Scrooge when it comes to all the decorating stuff.

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    • We usually put decorations up on the 1st December, or within a day or two of that. I do love Christmas actually, but don’t go over the top with decorations, just a tree, a few Christmassy ornaments and something hung on the door 🙂 Definitely stayed away from the stores today!

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  7. Thanksgiving is becoming the lost holiday–lost in the rush of Christmas consumerism. It’s such a lovely holiday too. Friends, family, food. Sigh. In the greed of need a once honorable tradition begins to wither. I do hope our neighbors across the pond do better with it.🍗

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  8. I’m one of the ones who lamented it on my blog. My wife had to work until 1:00. Her’s is an appropriate hospital job. Our daughter had to leave early for an inappropriate retail job. Thanksgiving dinner was a bite on the way to somewhere else. There will come a day when some future Renaissance fair type event will be the only place to experience a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, they’ll have to hold it in the summer or something, can’t compete with Black Friday.

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    • Oh yes, that’s right, I remember reading your post about it now, I couldn’t remember exactly which blogs I’d read the lamenting on when I wrote this post! I’m sure the retailers will all ensure Thanksgiving doesn’t completely disappear! And maybe there’ll be a rebellion at some point with everyone taking Thanksgiving back for what it’s meant to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. We have seen in recent years stores adopt Black Friday sales as well although our big sale day is Boxing Day after Christmas.

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  10. Bah humbug. You can have all of it.

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  11. How strange about the holiday being taken over there. Maybe they’re thankful that we stayed over here? Ha ha.

    Black Friday isn’t even Friday anymore. It’s the entire month, if not slightly longer. I am sick of the emails I was getting every day.

    Now, there’s a Black Friday ad for a car dealership. Wish I had rushed out early and taken advantage of those sales! (not)

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    • It’s funny but I’d kind of zoned out of any Black Friday marketing here until yesterday, I think because I interact a lot with US bloggers and US websites, without really thinking about it I just assumed that any Black Friday references were from the US, but clearly they must have been from, and for, here too and I totally didn’t notice!

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  12. Well, it sounds as if a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ is in order. So…Happy Thanksgiving, Vanessa!

    You lovely Brits are welcome to our Black Friday. No day-after-Thanksgiving shopping for me. At least not in a store. Shudder.

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  13. Hey, you’re welcome to share our Thanksgiving! And our pumpkin, too! I think it’s more fun, though, for Americans to adopt British things, like tea-time and scones and exclaiming “Brilliant!” and saying “shedule” and “leftenant.” The day after Thanksgiving has always been a big shopping day, because it was a day off from school and a time to get a jump on Christmas. But it got more and more hairy over the years – crowds, hard to park, etc. – and I quit shopping then years ago. When I was working, I liked to take the week off before Thanksgiving, because the stores had all their merchandise set up and it wasn’t so crowded. Nowadays, it’s so overhyped, I just ignore the whole thing.

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    • I think it’s fun for us all to adopt and share things from other countries, although eventually I guess it will mean that countries will lose their cultural identity, with everyone having what everyone else has! That would be shame, but probably inevitable.

      I do like shopping, whether in person or online, but I also don’t have very high tolerance levels for bustling crowds, long lines, or websites that run too slowly! So I prefer to avoid peak times whenever I can.

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  14. As mentioned above, Canada has a Thanksgiving Day too, which I totally don’t understand. Someone needs to explain it to me or otherwise I’ll have to actually do work and look it up. At least we Americans have a tidy little exaggerated myth to explain it. As for Black Friday, there are people who actually like it…fighting through the crowds and fighting one another for the last (insert name of widget here) widget on the shelf. We seem to have a certain aggression built into our national persona, and Black Friday shopping is engaged in by those who don’t like (American) football. And for your edification, we also have Cyber Monday. This is for people who eschew the fighting through the crowds part and wait until Monday when they’re back at work to shop online while trying not to get caught at it by their bosses. Everywhere you look you see “Only X days left until Christmas!” A certain panic sets in, since of course you DO want to get gifts. All, of course, created out of whole cloth by merchants, so that if you don’t participate, you feel a little left out of the national character. But I don’t blame the merchants…everybody has to make a living, and the creation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are actually brilliant examples of marketing, which I admire.

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    • In a nutshell (and copied from the internet somewhere) –

      “The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts!”

      If you want to know more, you’ll have to look it up yourself! 😉

      Yes, we get all the hype about only so many shopping days left till Christmas and all that, just to panic us into shopping! As you say, you can’t really blame the retailers, not individually anyway – they have to keep up or they’ll go out of business.

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  15. I just stay inside on Black Friday. There’s nothing I want THAT badly.

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  16. I ‘ve read that UK traders have adopted Black Friday in the hope that the sales frenzy on that date will enhance their annual profits. However, one marketing guru says that is a fallacy because it means that people rush to buy on that date only, and then don’t bother with the usual January and Summer sales, as they think they have already got their bargains and have already spent their money. So all Black Friday is doing is shifting purchasing times.
    Personally the idea of going anywhere near a shop on such a date is too ghastly to even contemplate. If Dante had heard of Black Friday he would probably included it in one of the Seven Circles of Hell.

    As to Thanksgiving, it is a festival I admire and now that I have a six-month old American grandson I feel I can legitimately enjoy it!

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    • Yes, I do wonder whether things like this actually make people buy more overall or, as you say, just shift the times that they buy their stuff.

      I love shopping and I love to grab a bargain, but I don’t love it enough to fight those crowds!

      Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving if you did it this year!

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  17. Insidious, isn’t it? Please, take Black Friday and all its commercial trappings. I would like to keep, however, the day to be thankful for having wonderful family and friends. And then the following day (let’s call it “Lounge Friday”) when I can stay home, curl up with a book, or play board games with my family. Perhaps throw in a little tea. Oops! Tea. We stole that from you, didn’t we.

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  18. I was laughing while reading this post. My British blogging friend is still hang up on the movie Clueless, and just loves American shows like Man vs. Food , Law and Order, Ghost Hunters, etc.

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  19. Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. It’s the perfect time to slow down and give thanks. The weather is still good for travel and it’s too far from Christmas to be taken over by a pre-holiday shopping frenzy. I’ve noticed this year we’re getting bombarded by Black Friday sales. While I have nothing but respect and admiration for our neighbours to the south, I’m a bit sorry to see us adopting this custom.

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    • That sounds like a good time to have your Thanksgiving – After the summer, it can seem a long time till there’s something to celebrate, so mid October must break up that long stretch very nicely!

      So nobody seems to like Black Friday then. Well, apart from the thousands and thousands of people fighting each other out on the streets to grab those bargains, but I guess they don’t have time to comment about Black Friday!

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  20. When the Pilgrims left for these distant American shores, your country got rid of some of your weirdest and most judgmental Protestants. That, in my view, is something for ALL Brits to celebrate!

    That said, you folks should not emulate our buying habits. Americas are idiots.

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  21. As if to underscore your point, I saw a photo on Facebook yesterday posted by the BBC (not BBC America, but the real BBC) of shoppers smashed up against one another, clawing either for some item or to get the attention of a clerk so they could check out and escape the madness. Seriously, we expect dignity from the British. At least, I do. I feel so let down 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Do Thanksgiving Canadian-style! It’s the only way to go. We are smart enough to have a several-week lay-over between holidays, thus celebrating Thanksgiving in October. That’s right, October. Well in advance of Halloween, and satisfactorily far away from Christmas. Also, there’s no associated Black Friday holiday binge shopping; it’s purely a time for getting together with family and eating a large stuffed bird. I also tend to get very drunk on red wine. That’s what holidays should be about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you guys seem to have it down! Although as I understand it, you have been having the Black Friday binge shopping anyway, at the same time as the US one, like we do! Stay home and drink red wine sounds like a good plan for that day too 🙂

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  23. I love Thanksgiving and I refuse to even look at the newspapers the day after because of all the hype about “Black Friday,” which is incorrectly named. It should be called “Let’s All Run to the Store like Cattle to the Feed Trough and Ruin the Warm Glow from the Family Thanks Day.”
    Not that I have an opinion about it.

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  24. After traveling all day to get from one coast to the other, Phil and stopped at Best Buy to get a great deal on a TV on the evening of Thanksgiving–can you beat that? At least we stayed out of the stores on Black Friday! 🙂

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  25. Ugh. I hate black Friday. I worked in retail for most of my 20s so I’ve seen the horror of people fighting over a deal. Online shopping I can handle (barely).

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  26. Black Friday is one thing … plus I avoid major shopping areas like the plague the entire weekend. Consider me a traditionalist, but I hate the fact that stores are now opening Thanksgiving evening.

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    • Yes, major shopping areas on weekends leading up to Christmas in particular are awful! The nearest big shopping area to where I live doesn’t have enough parking either which is ridiculous – it’s basically an outdoor mall that was built about 12 years ago and I think they did their calculations wrong on the number of parking spaces they would need because even on a normal Saturday you can be driving round and round for ages searching for a space, waiting for people to leave, so on any extra busy occasions, forget it! It’s frustrating, and the shops must lose business because people can’t be doing with the parking hassle!

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  27. Oh dear, did you really need to import Black Friday? There’s a small, but I hope growing, number of people here who are resisting the siren call to shop—especially on Thanksgiving Day itself. I will never go shopping on that day! And I rarely go out on Black Friday. It’s much safer and saner to stay home. 🙂

    And that pumpkin pie can be enjoyed anytime in the autumn/winter seasons. I think my husband would eat it every day if he could!

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  28. Oh, you know what you need with that Black Friday? Ginormous, gas-guzzling SUVs. That would be awesome if you could take those off our hands, then you could cart around all that crap so much easier. In turn, we’ll take Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Bletchley Circle, and the BBC.

    I don’t shop on Black Friday, or on Thanksgiving either. Shopping is not my favorite thing in the whole world, but it works out okay for me if I stick with small, local shops and merchants. Then I tell myself I’m doing something slightly more productive than just adding to the pile of crap we have around the house.

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    • Oh I annoy myself when it takes me ages to reply to comments! You know, Christmas prep ‘n all! Anyway, yes, we do have SUVs here too, probably not as many as you guys of course, but they can be seen outside the school gates being driven by people who live just down the road and only drive around town and really don’t need them!

      I do enjoy shopping, but not when it involves battling with crowds!

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  29. You guys are just going to have to adopt Thanksgiving, but refocus it from “glad=we=got=away=from=Europe=and=didn’t-all-die-this-winter” to a “glad-we-got=rid-of-those-damn-colonists” celebration. Then you will have earned your right to behave badly and spend lots of money the next day.

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  30. Shopping? … is that when you need something that shops have, and then you go to the shop and buy it and take it home? Or have I missed something?

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  31. I think the concept of Thanksgiving is really awesome. A holiday about being grateful and gathering with family just to be with them. It’s all too rare. So I’m glad it’s getting imported over there. 🙂 I wish they would make it Black Saturday. Let people have their Thanksgiving day in peace. Then give them a day to recover before becoming warriors at Walmart.

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