I sat open mouth, incredulous as I read of the behaviour of my fellow countrymen and women at Asda stores across the country. The reason: Black Friday. Black Friday is an American export where shops and businesses offer discounts on there products on the day after Thanksgiving. Asda, owned by American giant Walmart, are among a number of American companies in the UK that wanted to extend these offers to us Brits. The results were unbelievable.
I read of people being arrested because they couldn’t buy as many of an item as they wanted. A woman, who suffered a suspected broken arm when she was caught up in a stampede at an Asda store in Belfast and of a pregnant woman pushed aside in the scrum. Pensioners and disabled people were seen trampled underfoot as crowds surged into the store.
Are we as a nation so fixated on consumerism and so avaricious, that we are prepared to lose sight of everything else? How can we have sunk so low that we are prepared to behave in this way? Is the latest tablet computer, mobile telephone or any other electronic item worth injuring others; getting arrested for or worst of all, abandoning our dignity and self respect?
How, I wonder, would the people who unthinkingly behaved so callously to these vulnerable people feel if this had happened to there loved ones?
Gratifyingly, the pictures of Black Friday in America were of happy people, enthusiastically shopping and queuing to pay for there discounted goods. No scrums, no violence, no trampled, damaged people. I’m sure there were instances in America of stupidity and insensitive behaviour, but they weren’t the overwhelming message.
America has exported Black Friday and all of it’s benefits to Britain; next year, could they show us how to enjoy it graciously and in the spirit it is intended: the beginning of the true build up to Christmas.