Black Friday: Where did it all go wrong?

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Customer jumps on a cut price television inside the Asda store in Wembley, London.

Picture  Credit: Published Huffington Post (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Generally I am not one of these people that conforms to the majority. This rule also goes for my Christmas shopping habits. You will never find me camped outside the supermarket for hours on end waiting to grab a cut priced television (which I probably don’t need anyway).

It seems that on the 28th November 2014, shoppers up and down the United Kingdom queued outside retailers for many hours trying to grab a bargain during the black Friday sales that happen each year. According to the news, Black Friday originated in the United States, and is held the day after Thanksgiving and is known as Black Friday as the volume of stock sold supposedly puts retailers into profit – or into the black. However this good natured bargain hunting has sparked off some ugly scenes on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Picture Credit: JoeinQueens (Creative Commons)

So a question arises. Why are scenes like this seen? I deliberately went out this year to see for myself the chaos that allegedly ensues and what I saw shocked me to the core. I walked up to my local large supermarket on the morning of the 28th, about ten minutes after the store had opened its doors. I saw hundreds of people still queuing to get in as well as all of the people already inside the store. There was a large police presence.

Talking to one of the officers, who wished to remain anonymous said “It’s ridiculous… where did it all go wrong”. Another shopper who called for the annual event be banned said “It is unsafe, they don’t have adequate security to deal with this number of people. The police are swamped and someone is going to get hurt… All over saving a few pounds, it amounts to greed, absolute greed”. In contrast, one onlooker claimed that it was only a small minority involved in disorder, with many people shopping peacefully.

Considering this, another question arises. Is this all necessary? All year round we are bombarded by television advertisements trying to lure us to buy cut price goods so why is it we need this event? A number of arrests for public order offences occurred in the UK during the day of the 28th as I am sure there were across the water from us in the USA. Is all this necessary?

In conclusion, Black Friday has taken hold in the UK in recent years as british shoppers hunt for a bargain during the annual event. The event was first born in the USA but quickly spread across the Atlantic to become a british tradition. However, what should have been a day of good natured bargain hunting has turned once again into scenes of madness and chaos by a small minority of shoppers who seemed to have greed as well as bargains in mind. It is my opinion that this spoils it for the rest, with some people calling for the event to be banned because of health and safety concerns. Maybe if the stores policed the event better with more security and tighter controls in respect of the allowance of goods per customer. I think this one is open to much debate…

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Black Friday: Where did it all go wrong?

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