Every time I looked online, at the TV, or read a newspaper this week, I found myself accosted by Black Friday adverts.
What is this wholehearted embracing of an entirely US tradition? What does it have to do with the UK? We don’t have Thanksgiving, so why do we need Black
Why not have Price Slash Saturday or Maroon Monday?
The fact that Thanksgiving has connotations of kindness – being thankful, pausing to think and to thank – clearly is not as exciting to the Great British retail system as flogging over-priced goods at microscopically knocked-down prices, to a consumer-mad society.
Usually this is the kind of instance where Brits would be asking how on earth you can give thanks one day, then turn into mad, queuing consumers the next.
Instead, the shops were full of it. And we wouldn’t adopt Thanksgiving for the reasons that the US have it, because those reasons are nothing to do with the UK. So why is Black Friday so appealing?
Best of all, it’s actually not even contained to just Friday! It is Black Week, or even Black Fortnight judging by the fact that some reductions began taking place more than a week ago.
I’ve seen that some smaller independent retailers are refusing to give in to this.
Unlike huge megastores or global companies, they cannot afford to slash their prices.
We all love a bargain, especially with Christmas coming, but this blatant swiping of an American custom of materialism just irritate me.
There are sales on all year round. You can scour the internet for bargains perennially and I bet some of the Black Friday bargains are not bargains at all, just goods that were previously over-priced on sale to ensure that shops don’t lose any real revenue come the final Friday (or fortnight) in November.
If we must have this, then why not pick a new name at least, seeing as Black Friday is meaningless to our nation? Why not have Price Slash Saturday or Maroon Monday?
Because it sounds silly, that’s why. And meaningless. Oh, hang on, just like Black Friday then.
SHINING LIGHT ON AN OVERLOOKED AREA
On December 7 the Fratton Big Local Festival of Lights will be taking place.
This is a lovely initiative that is in its fourth year, and it helps get people together in an area of the city that is often overlooked.
Children from local schools will have been busy making some superb and creative lanterns which they can collect from The Royal British Legion in Lucknow Street, near Fratton Bridge, from 6pm.
At 6.30pm the procession will leave the Legion, and make its to St Mary’s Church where there will be drinks and refreshments, as well as activities.
There are also lantern-making workshops so you can make your own. Details can be found at frattonbiglocal.org.uk.
WE’RE MORE AWARE OF MENTAL HEALTH BECAUSE WE’RE SO STRESSED
This year seems to have marked the real beginnings of a turnaround in the public perception of mental health.
Long gone are the days when the words ‘mental health’ cued belittling comments. Instead, there seems to be an understanding that we all have physical health and, likewise, mental health.
I wonder whether some of this stems not just from public awareness but also personal awareness in 21st century society.
There can be few, if any, folk left, who have not experienced extreme pressure, stress or anxiety.
In a world where it can feel impossible to relax these days, or simply be left alone for five minutes, tensions run high.
But this, in turn, probably means that our empathy does, too.