Italian Black Friday

Mass hysteria, violence, stampedes, arrests, shootings. These are just some of the situations allegedly reported in the largest consumer shopping day of the year last year in 2015. So what happened this year?



Coming soon…the full story.


And here it is…

As I troll through the news stories and retailers offers I become more and more shocked. Shootings began Black Friday in the USA with no real explanation on how it started. A witness mentioned the enjoyment of attending the sales period and how it signified the start of the holiday season. Do you people know that according to wikipedia this day has been celebrated since 1932? Yes! 1932! So why has it suddenly become violent and so hysterical? Is it just maybe something to do with the retailers marketing strategy? I’ll try and be as neutral as possible here, but as a human being it’s difficult not to find the events stunning to believe.

I continue my search through the course of events to hear about mass brawls in shopping malls, gangs fighting gangs for no real reason, police officers even in the UK were attacked by adolescents (I think I have to say allegedly every now and then).

So what are people fighting over? Well, the main items which are often placed on sale are large items that they need to shift from their stores and warehouses. Why? Isn’t obvious? The technology boom has been going on for about 20 years now, maybe more. So at first, new technology replaced the”old” once every year at the beginning. Now we are seeing new products coming out in as little as six months apart. So they are emptying their shelves because by Christmas we will be seeing a whole new wave of products filling the shelves just in time to satisfy consumers’ needs for the festive season. It’s a very clever marketing strategy that a surprisingly large amount of people fall for.

You see, a TV which was produced a year ago has been sitting in a warehouse unsold for a few months now as it is already out of date. So it’s almost costing more to store it there than it’s worth. The attraction of a big TV at a ridiculously cheap price draws us in before we actually research the item and really understand that it has been replaced by two later models. Ok, we are still getting a good deal as it is cheaper than the original price. Nonetheless, isn’t it better to pay a few dollars more for something more recent, more energy-efficient, and with more features? Of course not. It’s all about the price tag.

Let’s think about what you are buying. Do you really need it? Very often the answer is no. All the same, society convinces us that we do need it. It will make our lives easier, and we will be happier for it. So why the fighting? Why the need to take something out of someone’s hands once they have taken it? In one video I was stunned to see an adult snatch a video game console out of the hands of a small child. The poor kid was in a state of shock as to what had just happened.

More videos on YouTube reveal another, darker side of Black Friday. The fury of shoppers to be first into the stores that they are tripping over others and actually trampling them as they continue to race towards the shelves and empty them. Although it doesn’t stop there. As they see that one section of the store has been gutted, they move to another department. Videos can be seen of people fighting over bathroom towels. Another video shows a raged buyer snatching a bulk package of toilet paper from the store assistant as it was unpacked from the box. A smiling shop assistant walks through the store with a box of soap products only to be rustled, making him drop the box. It looked like a pack of hyenas ravaging on a carcass in the savanna.

As I turn to other videos from the UK I find some haven. They are quietly queuing, happily chatting and laughing at what they call chaos. They have no idea what is going on across the big sea.

I then turn my head to Italy. Oh how I love this country. I mean this in the most honest light possible. For as I checked into an electronics retailer’s car park I notice that it is fairly full. Cars are double-parked with just enough space for the partially-blocked car to exit. Outside the store I see at least five people with the store’s magazine of offers on the phone to their children, checking that they are about to buy the right product; “So, what does Lollipop mean? … Ah ok, and what is a quad core? Is it anything to do with apples? Oh I see. Of course it’s an android. But I thought an android was a robot! I’m confused now, darling. I’ll ask your father when he’s found a free car park space. He’s waiting in the car.”

As I enter I was really expecting a little chaos but nothing. There was about twenty people huddled around the mobile phone department. Italians love mobile phones, just take a look at my Italians and mobile phones blog on the subject. I took a look at what was on offer and it simply confirmed everything I mentioned above. There was nothing special on offer, no really amazing bargains and I had certainly not been drawn into buying something expensive to get something else which I didn’t really need at a mediocre discount.

So as I come to a close, I wish all you shoppers the best. I sincerely hope you got a bargain today and I sincerely hope you got it safely. Take a moment to recuperate and then enjoy the tranquility as you replenish your energy for the next wave of consumer frenzy in the next few weeks as the pressure is put on you to buy more before Christmas comes.


Happy holidays.

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