Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Black Friday here

New Zealand has Black Friday, too. Like the USA, where the shopping event was born, it’s not limited to a single day, but it also doesn’t inspire the same sort of shopping frenzy as the USA’s does. The photo above is of three retail flyers that arrived in the letterbox today alone. All the stores are part of the same New Zealand retailing company, but plenty of other retailers are taking part. all of them broadcasting TV ads aplenty.

It’s safe to say that most New Zealanders are only vaguely familiar, if at all, with the connection of the day to the USA’s Thanksgiving holiday, and they certainly don’t know the alleged origin of the name. Actually, many Americans may not know the second one, either, but, does it matter? There’s stuff to be bought!

Black Friday is a relatively recent arrival in New Zealand. Wikipedia says that it “started picking up in New Zealand around 2013,” and that sounds right to me. It started out pretty small and has grown.

When I arrived in New Zealand 24 years ago, the only local references I heard to “Black Friday” were in place of “Good Friday” of Easter Weekend. The new version has become so pervasive that I realised recently that I can’t remember the last time I heard the previous usage.

Personally, I don’t care either way about “Black Friday” sales. If it makes people happy to take part, they should do so. If others don’t want a bar of it, they should stay home. It’s not that hard, really—at least, not yet. This could change in the years ahead, or not.

In any case, another American tradition seems to be taking root in New Zealand, and more successfully, in my opinion, than Halloween. I have no opinion on whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but, for me, I’d much rather have Black Friday than Halloween. But that’s easy for me to say: I don’t take part in either.

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