A new tradition off to a bad start
Black Friday didn't used to be a thing in the UK. Just like Thanksgiving is just a normal Thursday to us, the following day traditionally was just any other Friday. Then it began to creep in. In 2013 a few retailers jumped on the bandwagon, led by the Walmart-owned Asda. Then came this year.
From a shoppers perspective – and even more so from a tech fanatics perspective – there were some great, great deals to be had. Among the crappy Android tablets and off-brand widescreen TVs there was plenty out there worth getting if you'd been holding off. Indeed I managed to snag some good deals on a couple of Xbox One titles I'd been hankering after. There were a lot of deals on Xbox One in the UK. It turns out to be even better from a retail perspective with sales figures through the roof. And that's a good thing.
What's sad, though, is that the very fabric of society seemed to fall apart. Retailer websites crashed everywhere, so for many it meant putting down our phones, tablets, laptops, and actually going outside to a store to make our purchases. In many cases things went just fine. But I'm throwing this out there right now; it is not OK to push, shove, kick, punch, wrestle, stamp on or verbally abuse someone over a cheap TV. Not ever.
Is it because the technology around us has now begun to reach a point where it's more desirable and affordable than ever? Or is it just hooliganism? I'd wager a little of both, but all the craziness does at least highlight some issues. Namely that we're still – here at least – not prepared for the high street to go away.
British retail has seen better times. Major retailers have been collapsing in no small part due to the likes of Amazon. Why leave the house and go to a store when you can open up the Amazon app on your phone and order the same thing in a couple of minutes and save some cash in the process? And yet the same online retailers (Amazon excluded, since it didn't fall apart) gear up for massive sales and crumble under the traffic. Currys PCWorld even implemented a queueing system to get onto the site with waits of up to an hour.
Sure, going to a store in some cases put your wellbeing in jeapordy, but that should never be the case and shame on those retailers for not considering every eventuality. But I left the house at midnight to go to my local GAME store to snag the deals I wanted to get my hands on because both their app and website had completely disintegrated under the pressure.
I'd prefer next year to be more civilised, and I'd certainly prefer to be able to buy things without going outside and being a normal human being. The digital world continues to evolve, it'd be great if all avenues of the technology behind it did too.
Lead image courtesy of the BBC