I DON’T SHOP on Black Friday, the busiest retail day in the United States. It falls on the day after Thanksgiving, and most Americans can elaborate on its flaws. Stores open up at ridiculous hours (6am? 2am? 6pm on Thanksgiving Day?) to sell meekly discounted crap to consumers who act like rabid dogs fighting over a scrap of meat.
Google “Black Friday chaos” and watch a plethora of YouTube videos showing old ladies trampled to death, young men maced by rent-a-cops, and scores of shabbily-dressed Americans take over strip malls in search of that flat screen television that might be discounted at 75% off, or the last provocative Bratz doll that some airbrushed news anchor predicted to be the “hot new holiday toy.”
Most of my international friends stare at me with mouths agape after I tell them about this holiday tradition. I’m surprised by how many people around the world don’t know what Black Friday is, figuring that a Twitter hashtag like #BlackFridayCarnage would instantly trend. Nevertheless, I wanted to find out what people around the world actually thought, or knew, about Black Friday in the United States (quotes sourced from Quora).
Something like this, in India, would be awesome, but I don’t think the retailers would have the guts to pull it off…
In the UK, coverage of Black Friday is non-existent and most people wouldn’t even know what it is. Thanksgiving itself might get a one liner on the news like ‘In other news, today was thanksgiving in the USA, the Queen opened a widget factory and the police rescued a cat from a tree. Back to the main story…’
Australians are becoming aware of it. Previously the only real coverage it got was when something stupid happens, like a shopper pulling a gun on somebody because they both wanted the last toaster, or there was a stampede that killed somebody. Now it has coverage because our retail union (sorry, association) is trying to copy the idea to drive sale before Christmas. We still don’t rally get any media coverage but most Aussies should be aware of the existence of Black Friday if only because of the recent advertising blitz by our retailers.
From New Zealand – not heard of it at all. Only reason I learnt of it was that all the affiliate programs which I promote are sending me lots of spam about their offers on Black Friday… Something like our Boxing Day sales I guess? Certainly would never be mentioned on news or radio. Before that, I thought it was some sort of racist reference to the character from Robinson Crusoe.
Black Friday doesn’t register on the radar of the average Singaporean, unless they are into online shopping at US web portals (Thanksgiving even less so). Shopping is a major pastime in Singapore — our national tourism promotion board annually fabricates an entire season called The Great Singapore Sale to give the retail industry a kick in the butt — but the craziness doesn’t come anywhere close to Black Friday given that we really just have sales all year long.
… In South Africa there is absolutely no coverage. Fun idea, though.
Italy: nope, no coverage. At least, my roommates never heard of it.
In Spain is pretty much unheard of. Those who know what it is usually think it’s the most stupid thing ever. There are some things such as a day where exclusive clothing shops open at night with discounts, but that’s only in Madrid or Barcelona, nothing nationwide such as Black Friday.
In Brazil, it became the top e-commerce day ever!
In Ecuador, coverage is non-existent unless there’s a fatality (‘crushed by a crowd of 300 people…’) and it inevitably becomes news. On the other hand, if you’re used to buying online, you know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big discount days.
I live an hour north of the American border (in Montreal)… Those of us who are ‘in the know’ cross the border and go shopping in the U.S. Stores like Best Buy and Future Shop promote Black Friday sales over here but this is a new thing (which will probably continue to grow in the coming years) and I don’t think we’ve officially translated the name into French yet.