My yearly festive twaddle rant.
In this fracturing world where nearly everyone must surely be aware that things are not heading in a good direction - especially environmentally - one might think that the amount of consumerism could be on the wain . . . manufacturers taking a bit of responsibility, or more likely, jumping on the 'ecologic' band-wagon/bus/trolly, bike, whatever. But, no. Certainly no evidence of this in our local cathedral of shopping.
I went in to get A4 paper, a bag of prunes and a bit of cheese but must have spent five minutes just gawping at this years Christmas displays of chocolate. It was definitely worse than last year. Ferrro Rocher marked their territory with a sort of pathetic golden cardboard arch under which you have to pass to get into the main actual food area of the shop. Other brands - mostly Lindt, it seemed, had been arranged in a huge block - a red and gold battleship ploughing its way between pasta and frozen foods.
People were loading their trolleys with a polite frenzy. Why? It wasn't even December. Then I noticed the Black Friday/weekend signs. All festive chocolate 30% off in celebration of this . . . event. We might as well just have Black Century and be done with it. The weekend has already spread to Black Week.
I did look up the origins of all this madness.
According to a site called History Stories, the first recorded use of the term 'Black Friday' was applied after a major financial crash on September 24, 1869: specifically, the crash of the U.S gold market Two Wall St financiers worked together to buy up as much of the nation's gold, thus hoping to drive the price sky high and make astronomical profits. The outcome was discovery of the conspiracy, stock market free fall and massive country-wide bankruptcy.
Apparently ten people have died in crushes over cut-price goods. The first in a Wallmart. A shop worker was trampled to death while opening the doors to a flood of eager people, another during a shooting incidents over goods in Toys R US . . .
I don't actually recall Black Friday being a thing until a few years back. Mad folk waiting in sleeping bags outside Harrods in January for various sale unmissables, yes, but crazed shopping on a Friday in November?
Anyway, I did get my prunes, paper - no cheese as there was a queue like the M25 around the counter - but I did fall slightly under the festive shopping spell, or perhaps it was a pine-needle/roast dinner/ho-ho-ho spray drifting down from the sprinkler system forcing us into goodwill to all food manufacturers.
My purchase, a very small box of 30% off After Eight mints. Just for nostalgia of the 70s reasons.