This year’s Black Friday shopping offers in the UK have come up against cynicism, early-morning empty stores and the anti-consumerist #BuyNothingDay trend.
Although £8bn is predicted to be spent, the emphasis is expected to be in online retail.
The Black Friday tradition of offering a day of sales just after Thanksgiving, only took off in the UK a few years ago. In 2014, some shops witnessed scenes of bedlam over bargains and tussles over TVs, as tweeted by the BBC’s Zoe Conway.
Police in London tweeted in 2014 that “shoving people to the floor so you can get £20 off a coffee maker is still an assault.”
This hasn’t stopped the #BlackFriday term from trending on social media, being tweeted 1.3 million times globally in the past week.
One fashion blogger couldn’t resist a new camera lens: “My not-spending money on #blackfriday promise didn’t go well”.
Early in the UK, however, not every shop had queues of people waiting to grab a bargain, as the BBC’s Frankie McCamley tweeted from Oxford Street, London, “the rush came and went (quickly).”
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There are plenty of sceptics around. Co-host of BBC quiz show, Pointless, Richard Osman, has been reminiscing about half-day closing, rather than mass consumerism.
However, not everyone is participating, including Clifford, who emailed the BBC:
“If large retailers can cut their prices by enormous amounts, then surely, the prices are over inflated the rest of the year. Boycott chain stores and look after the independents.”
Peter in Stockport said people should have more sense: “Most so-called ‘bargains’ are just cleverly manipulated prices to get people with little financial savvy to spend more money than they have got. The British consumers are just cash-cows for ruthless businesses.”
And Ann feels Black Friday “spoils the Christmas buzz.”
Chris tweeted his usual reaction to Black Friday: “A sharp inhale, followed by ‘Bit steep’.”
In France, online furniture store, Camif, closed for the day. Its chief executive, Emery Jacquillat, called for a boycott of Black Friday because it “does not represent the values of the company”. Instead of a shopping platform, visitors to the company’s website are presented with a video explaining why there are no sales.
Meanwhile, other websites are avoiding the event and the hashtag #BuyNothingDay has been used around 4,000 times so far.