Black Friday Frenzy

In the past, the most common response by South Africans to the words Black Friday would have been a quizzical “black what?” Perhaps some of the better-heeled members of the population may have come across it, solely due to the energetic marketing activities of Amazon and other American on-line retailers, but for many the term would have evoked memories of either an Apartheid era protest or a racial slur. As a nation, we can happily discuss a rainbow of colours in a myriad of different contexts but the terms ‘black’ and ‘white’ remain mired in historical pain and mistrust and are generally best avoided.images[3]

It is perhaps a sign of national healing that the term Black Friday was so comprehensively embraced by both retailers and consumers this year, and what an embrace it was! Many chain stores extended their shopping hours and loaded their shelves with ‘one day only’ specials in anticipation of the arrival of crowds of shoppers, all eager to be parted from their hard-earned cash in return for price-slashed bargains. What they had not taken into account though, was that the predicted hordes of shoppers would need something in which to transport those bargains through the aisles!

Shopping trolleys were like gold!


I am, perhaps, one of the least savvy shoppers I know and consequently the Black Friday advertising had failed to take root in my consciousness. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at my local mall to complete my weekly grocery penance to find the parking garage full and frustrated motorists recklessly abandoning their cars in their hurry to secure a bargain! And then it got worse!

No shopping trolleys!

After waiting impatiently for what felt like hours (okay, really only a couple of minutes), I swiftly liberated a basket-trolley from a departing elderly couple (departing from the store, not life) and victoriously joined the throngs.

My euphoria was short-lived. The aisles resembled a war-zone. Those who were lucky enough to have secured the use of a trolley were using it as a battering ram to force their way through the throngs, while those without squeezed past carrying armfuls of bargains. Eggs smashed onto the tiled floor, adults hissed malevolently and children shrieked, while all the time the check-out queue slowly snaked its way around the store. An hour long wait, at least!

Enough! I swiftly relinquished my baskets, abandoned my task, liberated my car and headed home.

It was a black Friday, indeed!

My mood was black!

A black Friday indeed!
A black Friday indeed!

The empty spaces in my kitchen cupboard that should have been filled with brightly packaged groceries were gapingly empty and black!

My hope that the world was reverting to being a kinder, gentler place had turned to black!

Even the sky had turned black as it started to rain!

Next year, I’m going to shop on the day before Black Friday … the shops will be empty, trolleys will be plentiful and my equilibrium will remain intact.

I think I will name it Sanity Thursday!

What was your experience of Black Friday? Were your bargains worth the stress?

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma says:

    Now whilst I truly do love a bargain, I hate the Jekyll and Hyde tendencies of people even at the regular Woolies sale. So not a hope in getting me near a participating retailer on Mad Friday. I did have a giggle watching the posted videos, with SA’s frenzy coming quite close to matching people in USA, snatching toasters out of each others hands.. Sanity Thursday absolutely!!

    1. A kindred spirit! You know what Sartre said “Hell is other people!” I want to add … especially when money is involved!! 🙂

  2. barb says:

    Tant pis that you did not know about it! You also did not hear about “Civilized Saturday” when all the bookshops in the UK opened their doors for the whole day and invited all to come in and read and maybe even get a cup of tea-now that makes sense!

    1. Tant pis indeed!!! Now Civilised Saturday” sounds just up my street, but as there doesn’t seem to be a huge profit motive, it probably won’t happen here 😦

  3. Daphne says:

    So agree Cathy ! Not worth battling the crowds for anything !!!

    1. Unless it’s chocolate!! 🙂

  4. Margaret Victor says:

    I had no problem, I went in the morning, because I only needed a few items. I believe in the late afternoon when the people went home, it was chaos, they even threw things at one another. I have always avoided bargain days as I do not like to be shoved around when I shop.

  5. This awful Black Friday event seemed to arrive in the UK last year for the first time. There was mayhem in some stores with customers snatching TV’s from each other not to mention fights at the tills! It seems that everyone learnt a lesson and last Friday footfall was reportedly less than on a typical Friday. Some big retailers decided to opt out, whilst sensible shoppers stayed at home, grabbing bargains on line from the comfort of their own sitting rooms. It’s unlikely that retailers actually like the event, forcing them to discount heavily in the run up to Christmas, distorting their sales figures. Hopefully, Black Friday will turn out to be amore peaceful event in South Africa next year,too. Happy shopping!

  6. I saved a fortune on Black Friday – by not buying anything, Bah Humbug 🙂

    1. I will definitely follow your lead next year!!! 🙂

  7. Camilla Smith says:

    Being merely African, it took a while to figure out that Black Friday is the last Friday in November i.e. the Friday after the American Thanksgiving Holiday. They seem to move from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in one mad frenzy. I did have few mental forays into Black Monday, and Bloody Sunday without success! We just go into sizzling summer and everyone heads to the nearest seaside resort, avoiding the black and white issues like the plague. Ok so I usually do my weekly shopping on Friday, but for some unknown reason (… bad planning could come into it somehow?) I ran out of a couple of basics, and needed to top up my phone so managed to go shopping on sanity Thursday! it was bliss. So quite! I really did well. Until I got home that is, and realised that both phones were sitting quietly on my office desk, and I was totally out of communication for the night! so much for top-up vouchers which was the main excuse for breaking the routine. I guess Friday was ‘Bonus day” and last pay day before the holidays, so it was mad, but I was sitting quietly at home with my phones restored, a glass of wine, and a good book having scored a couple of hours ‘me time’ if somewhat accidently!

    1. Hi Kym. I agree that any form of shopping should be avoided if possible! A glass of wine and a good book is an unbeatable way to pass a couple of hours instead 🙂 . Spare a passing thought for those of us who live at the coast and have our usually tranquil existence shattered for the whole of December.

  8. Brian Colmer says:

    Hi Skate, thanks for the “Bleak Friday” editorial, I loved the bit about the old couple. Please remember you are getting old, which brings me to the most important reason for my comment. Who is the young dolly bird you use as your pic when you reply to the comments? Does she get royalties? As for “Black aka Bleak Friday, next year I’m going to don my bullet proof vest, arrange my armourments over each shoulder and wear my leather, fingerless gloves and thrust myself into the fray. It gives us all permission to act like savages without consequence, and who knows I might even get lucky and come home with a cheap Snickers Bar. Love you, Brian

    1. Hi Brian. Thanks for the laugh, the mental picture is hilarious! As for the ‘dolly bird’, aren’t you happy that we share the same youthful genes 🙂 . All kudos to my great hairdresser who insisted she take a new profile picture as she hated the old one! Lots of love.

  9. beingmepresently says:

    I avoid going out shopping in any kind of sale. It’s madness. I would rather pay full price than go through the hassle. I’m an online shopper – even for my food shop. So much easier! X

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