When I’m president of the world, I will ban all pigeons from inner cities, the use of the word ‘brainstorm’, and any Christmas decorations before December.
While I hope the first two are self-explanatory, allow me to elaborate on the third. It’s not that I’m against Christmas or its commercialisation (we all inadvertently signed up for that when we embraced Santa Claus in his jolly red suit), it’s that by the time 25 December arrives, I’m pretty much over it, and one more rendition of Jingle Bells played loudly in an overheated store might actually tip me over the edge.
I like to think this isn’t a selfish point of view either - I mean, can you actually imagine having to work in an environment where you’re forced to endure seasonal jingles for two whole months? Although it could be worse, because in the US, where Black Friday originated, most people try to extend the Thanksgiving holidays by taking the day off. Most people, that is, apart from the poor souls working in retail.
So to my mind it should, and must be stopped (vote for me). And if you think this sounds old-fashioned, it is, because apparently the original intention behind Black Friday’s name was an attempt by the Philadelphia Authorities, back in the 60’s, to persuade people that the whole thing was a noisy, chaotic mess.
However - and here is where my argument starts to fall apart (along with my campaign for presidency), the retailers, buoyed by incredible sales, latched onto the term and subverted its meaning it to mark the day as the point at which their businesses moved out of the red and into the black – although Asda’s extension of Black Friday into Saturday feels a little like swapping your Christmas stocking for a duvet.
So here’s the rub: just as I choose not to deck my halls with holly until 1 December, others choose to take much needed advantage of discounted prices, brave the endless renditions of jingle bells, and hit the shops. To them, Black Friday isn’t the kissing cousin of the Black Death, and I’m just a miserable humbug. They might have a point.