Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reflected on my week in Birmingham in the UK Midlands — with photos! Tina reviewed the London Cookbook about the modern culinary scene in London. Sim took the occasion of Leonard Cohen’s death to stop by the Marble Arch in her virtual tour of London. Becky reviewed Five Children on the Western Front.
Happy Black Friday! Black Friday, of course, is the day after Thanksgiving in the US, our traditional start of the Christmas shopping season. Office workers generally get both Thursday and Friday off this week, so it’s an opportunity for people to get out during the four-day weekend.
This is a relatively new phenomenon. Wikipedia reports the first usage of Black Friday in 1961 in Philadelphia where it was more about the traffic than the shopping. I grew up in a small town in the 60s and 70s so I was completely unaware of it until sometime in the 1980s when I’d moved to the St. Louis area.
The popular explanation for the name Black Friday is that it’s the day in the year that retailers go from being in the red for the year to being in the black. That thought was so terrifying to me that I never seriously considered opening a retail business. Can you imagine operating for 11 months of the year without a profit and only what you make in that last month is what makes you successful? Too much stress for me.
Some shops in the UK have tried to import the US enthusiasm for Black Friday, to limited success. I love the first line of this article:
Love it, hate it or mock it mercilessly: Black Friday is back with a vengeance this week.
As in the US, sales on technology items are at the forefront of Black Friday. The Mirror has a helpful article detailing the best bargains in the UK. The Telegraph‘s article includes a countdown clock to Black Friday since our UK friends won’t have the reminder of Thanksgiving parades, football games, and meals.
While researching the phenomenon of Black Friday in the UK, I learned about a whole different use of the term. The most popular night for office Christmas parties in Britain is the Friday night before Christmas. This results in an increased need for police and ambulance services, so emergency personnel called that night Black Friday. More recently, the British have taken to calling it Mad Friday to distinguish the partying event from the shopping event earlier in the season.
Are you doing anything special for Black Friday? I’m staying home! But we don’t do much in the way of Christmas shopping these days.