Black Friday: It's not just America

Black Friday offers now abound across the world. Everyone seems to be catching on to the joyous consumerist festivities around Thanksgiving.

A Black Friday 'hola' from Spain. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This week, America's retailers have put on their finest makeup and highest heels in order to make themselves supremely attractive.

My inbox has been full of enticements, all to celebrate the Feast of the Black Eye Friday.

One seductive missive caught my eye, though. It promised: "Black Friday, sólo 3 días con ofertas irrepetibles?."

Well, I suppose my name does look a little Spanish after a few sangrias.

The offers were, of course, very special. A Lenovo Intel Core i7, for example. A mere 579. A Bosch washing machine for just 289.

It was then that my brain intercepted my eyes and whispered: "Hey, those prices are in euros."

This was, indeed, an e-mail from the Spanish department store El Corte Ingles. Oh, don't ask how I got on the mailing list. (Soccer aficionados will understand if I say I'm a Real Betis fan.) Ask what on Earth El Corte Ingles is doing celebrating Black Friday.

What used to be an American phenomenon (especially the Fight Club brawls over cheap TVs) has gone worldwide.

As CNBC reports, there's scarcely a country that doesn't try to emulate America's need to put shopping before (and after) eating.

It seems that Black Friday and Cyber Monday, celebrated on the very same days everywhere, are consistently the two days on which worldwide shopping reaches its peaks.

Michael DeSimone, CEO of Borderfree, a company that works with major retailers to customize their online retail in different languages, told CNBC: "In the Middle East much of the population doesn't even celebrate Christmas, but they are still shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so I think it's an interesting way that we have sort of exported our American retail culture."

They watch our movies. They listen to our music. They worship our shopping days.

One reason that retailers in, for example, Australia are offering Black Friday bargains is that they feel the need to compete with American retailers who, naturally, think everywhere is America.

How sad it would be if, the world over, these two days became symbols of rampant consumerism.

Why can't America take on a few more traditions from overseas, at least to keep world culture in balance?

I, for one, would definitely favor a Pamplona-style running of the bulls toward every store that opens early on Thanksgiving.

 

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