It’s official: Brits have gone wild for Black Friday 2014

Called Black Friday because it puts retailers in the black, rather than because it’s the one day in the shopping calendar when sense and manners go out the window, the day after Thanksgiving has been a traditional bargain-hunting time in the U.S for a long time. And, perhaps finally catching on that people would prefer to buy things cheaply BEFORE Christmas, shops on this side of the pond have got on board this year in a big way. Which on one hand is great because yay, bargains but on the other is terrible because hello, what happened to basic human decency?

No sooner had Tesco stores unveiled their Black Friday bargains at midnight than fights broke out and police had to be called, with shops in Dundee, Minehead and Silverburn and Manchester all closed as a result of over-excited shoppers, the latter within ten minutes of opening, Yahoo reports.

There have been at least three arrests, with Greater Manchester’s chief constable Sir Peter Fahy criticising the company for not being prepared for the stampede. There was also chaos at the Wembley branch of Asda this morning, where customers scuffled over a cut-price Polaroid 40-inch flat screen TV.

It was equally hectic online: Tesco, Currys, and Game Online’s websites all crashed in the early hours as they struggled to cope with customer demand. Between now and Monday, Brits are expected to splash out an eye-watering £1.32 billion, a 9% increase on last year.

While anyone who’s ever been to a football match, accidentally queue-jumped (I’m sorry!) or used public transport knows that we Brits aren’t as refined or reserved as other countries sometimes think, we do seem especially determined to prove this year that we can be just as brash, sleep-deprived and sales-obsessed as our friends across the pond.

It would be awful, though, if the situation here escalated to the level of Black Friday pandemonium the U.S experiences, where shoppers have collapsed and been ignored, been trampled to death, and been shot and killed in Toys R Us. Because while paying full price for something is a real bummer, it isn’t actually a fate worse than death.

Image via Martin Abegglen’s Flickr.

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