Since when did Black Friday become a thing in the UK?

Ahh Black Friday. For as long as I can remember it’s been a tradition us Brits have watched in wide-eyed amazement from across the pond. ‘They go THAT crazy for bags?’, ‘Why are they hitting each other like that?’ and ‘But… but it’s only a t-shirt!’. Watching the footage always felt like going on a particularly vicious safari, we were always shocked, amazed, flabbergasted, but also smugly aware that the most drama we’ll ever see out shopping is a red-faced, middle-aged woman passively aggressively tutting at someone who jumped the queue in M&S.

But over the past few years something truly terrifying has happened, the American, Hunger Games-style shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday (*shudder*) has slowly made its way to our shores – along with Halloween frenzy, naked yoga and Thanksgiving gluttony.

Never has this been more evident than today. 2014 will always go down in history as the day Black Friday well and truly wiggled its way into our festive calendars with its panic deals, eye-watering bargains and scenes of absolute chaos and carnage.

According to the most recent reports and this (particularly LOL-worthy) Black Friday Vine round-up from the Independent, several supermarkets have already had to be closed this morning due to overcrowding, police have been called out to countless fights across the country over TVs and other huge electrical goods and at least three people have been arrested. So far.

But why has it become such a thing over here when we know we’re all about politely queuing, passively aggressively expressing our feelings and avoiding human contact at all costs?

1. The bounds of geography won’t stop American retailers from raking in the cash

Retailers that had always been synonymous with only US audiences (like Forever 21, American Apparel, Victoria’s Secrets and Free People) have started to gain a helluva lot of popularity over here. So it’s no surprise they’d bring their infectious deals over with them and everyone would be whipped into a frenzy.

2. We’re obsessed with fast fashion and bargain hunting more than ever before

Granted we’ve been dragging ourselves round one soul-destroying Primark expedition after another for years now, but never before have us millennials (that’s what we are, right?) been so passionate about being on-trend for as cheap as possible. So, if one or two retailers start shouting about Black Friday over here and notice a HUGE surge in sales and interest, it’s no wonder others would follow suit, which brings us onto out next point…

3. It’s a ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ kinda thing

If the American retailers are doing it, why wouldn’t other brands get involved?

4. We’re just too impatient for Boxing Day now

Boxing Day was always a little like our (much more conservative, less exciting) Black Friday. But maybe we’ve all realised it just doesn’t make sense to spend loads of money after Christmas after you’ve just spent loads of money on Christmas (see also: hangover).

5. Social media overload

Just like haunting Primark journeys, social media isn’t new. But the fact sharing, over-sharing and over-sharing some more on Twitter and Facebook has become second nature for both consumers and brands means there’s never been a better opportunity to rile everyone up about deals, share discount codes and lust over all of the stuff you don’t need.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Becca Caddy

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