Black Friday in the United States has become somewhat of a religious movement bordering on hysteria, with people camping outside of department stores for several days—subsequently disregarding Thanksgiving, the family holiday which summoned Black Friday in the first place—with people literally getting mauled and trampled to death just over some discounted products.

black friday: tell us how you really feel

But where did this carousel of consumerism come from? It dates back to the 1920s, when department stores like Macy’s created giant parades to alert Americans that the shopping season had now arrived. In the 1930s during the great depression, President Roosevelt even moved thanksgiving a week earlier just to allow for more Christmas shopping, hoping this would increase retail sales during the final year of the depression. But, as history repeatedly tries to tell us, too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.

Fast forward to today, this day of spending has evolved into an entirely different beast. When asked about Black Friday, comedian Bill Burr said, “Why can’t you just admit you can’t afford it at a regular price and go back the next day like a gentleman? There is nothing in Walmart worth getting trampled over.” Could you imagine getting shot at a Toys ‘R Us over some toys?

Just absolutely bananas.

On the other side of the Atlantic, here in the UK (which does not celebrate Thanksgiving, aside from the occasional pub), Black Friday is a much more recent instalment in one of the many traditions adopted from the US. Luckily, it appears to be treated with a bit more civility, even despite the current turmoil being felt across the country.

According to the Office for National statistics, 94% of adults said their cost of living had increased compared to last year, and 76% claimed it had increased over the past month alone, up from 62% last year.

So, how does ‘the man’ cushion this blow to our wallets? A 50% off a lifetime supply of toothbrushes!

Kidding.

Big brands have begun saluting the new environmentally conscious flag that has been raised across news platforms and social media and, gratefully, many of them are doing their best to help those in need whilst capitalising on this (arguably unscrupulous) cash-grab. In fact, many have even adopted the new moniker: Green Friday.

One example being IKEA, which, after the success of last year’s green initiative, offers customers to sell back their furniture in return for 50% off new purchases.

Another is the Shop & Give initiative, which is a free way to raise money for charity while shopping online, an example being any of the ‘Give as You Live’ websites, which have raised over £21 million for worthy causes.

Adding to the raising defiance, this Friday alone, up to 85% of independent retailers have shut down their online websites, which clearly shows that we may not be such shameless consumers after all. With ‘buy now, pay later’ apps such as Klarna and Clear-pay, it’s becoming easier than ever for those in financial distress to get something they actually want, without risking their physical wellbeing or their entire paycheck to get it because, at the end of the day, why shouldn’t we get some nice things?!

As it stands, Europe is taking a much healthier approach to Black Friday and seeing as the holiday was adopted from the US, maybe the US can learn to adopt some of these European scruples next year (seriously, go spend time with your family. You don’t need that discounted aquarium that bad).

Even more coincidental, today, on Black Friday, England will be playing against the US in the world cup. Yikes. The end of today will be a black Friday indeed for one of these two nations.

Shop safely!

TECH NEWS RELATED

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels shares five tech predictions for 2023 and beyond

In the start of 2023, Amazon Chief Technology Officer Dr. Werner Vogels has shared on what’s coming in this year and beyond. Below are his predictions. With several global crises occupying our daily lives, it’s important to see where we can use technology to solve these hard human problems. ...

View more: Amazon CTO Werner Vogels shares five tech predictions for 2023 and beyond

Hold on tight! Remembering our wild ride with Ken Block

► We ride with precision driver Ken Block► A memorable ride from back in 2009► Ken Block 1967-2023: sideways memories ‘Are you ready?’ I’m pretty sure that’s what the man said over the helmet intercom; but to be perfectly honest with you, my brain’s just a tiny bit fried right now, and ...

View more: Hold on tight! Remembering our wild ride with Ken Block

Nintendo Wire’s Game of The Year for 2022 is…

2022 was a year of grand, sweeping games on Nintendo Switch. We had one of the biggest RPGs ever in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, a luscious sci-fi epic in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, a time-spanning remake of the ages in Live A Live. All these and more were up for Game ...

View more: Nintendo Wire’s Game of The Year for 2022 is…

Switch Year-In-Review 2022: The best year for the console yet?

In modern times, year five of a console’s lifespan is usually around the time things start winding down, to get prepared for year six or seven when the successor officially debuts. The Wii released in 2006, and by 2011 it was winding down with only the occasional blockbuster release. The ...

View more: Switch Year-In-Review 2022: The best year for the console yet?

Hype Motorsport launches sustainable track day experience

Track days can be a costly endeavour in all aspects, but Hype Motorsport might have devised a solution

View more: Hype Motorsport launches sustainable track day experience

Is it time to consider the switch to EVs?

Much has changed since electric cars entered the scene about a decade ago. Back then, the thought of owning – or even driving – an electric car was a remote one, with few electric vehicles (EVs) and charging points available. Spotting one in public was like sighting a unicorn.  ...

View more: Is it time to consider the switch to EVs?

The Dakar Sisters: 18-year-old twins to be the rally’s youngest entrants ever

► Youngest entrants into the rally ever► Twins sisters from Dubai► Yasmneen withdrew due to injury Dakar. A ruthless rally that has been raging on for over 50 years, spanning multiple continents over its time from the Americas to Africa. With Saudi Arabia hosting this event later this year, the rally has ...

View more: The Dakar Sisters: 18-year-old twins to be the rally’s youngest entrants ever

Ars Technica’s best video games of 2022

A dearth of big-budget blockbusters couldn't hold back the year in games.

View more: Ars Technica’s best video games of 2022

Noble M400: review, history and specs of an icon

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC, RM329k 7-seater EV

Learning to Drive a Ford Model T Was Challenging but Rewarding

TechNode Global's Top 10 feature articles in 2022

The Quickest Cars We Tested in 2022

The heat is on: rivals aim to topple Toyota at Dakar 2023

Gallery: Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric, RM289k AWD EV

“Please slow down”—The 7 biggest AI stories of 2022

This Rare 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma Walter Wolf Is Today's BaT Auction Pick

Car Designers Just Can't Resist Messing with Automatic Transmissions

Inside Pro Touring Fabrication's workshop

Ford F-150 Lightning Goes to Work as a Farm Truck

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News