It’s fair to say Downtime is a fan of the fine American tradition of Thanksgiving. It’s not so much the sentiment behind it (why hello mass genocide of native cultures), more the excuse to binge on massive amounts of food. It’s sort of like a pre-Christmas warm-up.
I myself will be spending Saturday evening with some expat friends in London, stuffing myself stupid with cornbread and having the Georgia Tech – Bulldogs game explained to me in detail (give me the Six Nations any day).
I’d be happy for more Brits to take it up. Seriously, guys. Cornbread. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, as Chris Rock said.
But it’s not that tradition they’re importing, is it? No. It’s what comes after it. Black Friday.
In the US, because Thanksgiving always falls on the last Thursday of November, anybody who has a few days holiday left takes Friday off as well, and with Christmas just a month away the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.
Have you ever been to a mall there and wondered why there was so much more parking than needed? On Black Friday, those parking lots get full. And things have a tendency to get out of hand.
Indeed, Black Friday is named Black Friday because it is the day when most shops’ accounts finally tip over into the black.
But recently I’ve noticed that Black Friday seems to have hopped a flight to Heathrow. Yes, this is one mission that’s creeping, and I don’t like it one bit. Argos, John Lewis, they’re all at it now (shame on you, John Lewis!). The Guardian has even run an item on the best deals.
With a good amount of spending on Black Friday now online as well, there’s lots to shout about when it comes to security, network use, load balancing and the like.
Indeed this whole week has seen a stream of PR emails dropping into my inbox trying to interest me in Client A’s deep and important thoughts on Black Friday, or Client B’s, or, well, basically all the clients. No tech client, apparently, has a story that is too completely unrelated to Black Friday in any way to try to spin some coverage out of it.
Look, I’m sorry, everyone, but it’s just that I literally do not care at all about people fighting over flatscreen TVs in a Wal-Mart parking lot!
And I really literally do not care about lame press releases trying to pin a story on something that is not, and really should not, be a thing in Britain. It’s intensely annoying, and I would really like the tech industry to stop pushing it on us.
I suppose it’s a small crumb of comfort that our esteemed colleagues across the sea in Boston no doubt get a lot of press releases trying to interest them in firework sales figures round about the fifth of November. Yes, I am absolutely certain that this is a thing that really winds up the Americans.
Please, please, please, make it stop.