I’ve been getting e-mails like “20% off EVERYTHING plus FREE delivery – we’re starting Black Friday early!” and “We’re counting down to Black Friday“. So Black Friday is coming – is it another day of doom? After all the Black Death in the late 1340’s was not a good time with more than half of Europe’s population dying. In 1869 there was a Black Friday when the US Gold Market Crashed. In the 1950’s the term was used to describe the chaos in Philadelphia on the day between Thanksgiving and the annual Army-Navy Football Game. More recently in 1987 Black Monday was when stock markets crashed and in 1992 Black Wednesday was when the government faced the humiliation of being forced to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (which actually might not have been a bad thing in the long run).
However these were all named after the event whereas the current Black Friday has been named in advance and appears to occur every year. Somehow 1950’s Philadelphia chaos has morphed into a mammoth shopping experience (chaos)! It’s also online with offers of 30% off everything (so that is how much profit they normally make and some?).
Talking of shopping I visited the new Westgate Shopping Complex in Oxford yesterday – Village Voices were singing. The new Westgate is an improvement on the old version – it is a clean, bright, dry and spacious covered area full of shops I mostly wouldn’t normally visit (no hardware shops! but there is a bookshop and plenty of places to eat). Someone commented that it was a soulless place – it’s a Shopping Centre, a temple to mammon, what do you expect? At least the views from the roof terrace were good.
I also walked round what is now known as the Castle Quarter – it too has been spruced up with the old gaol now a hotel. We must return and investigate further.
It has changed from when I lived in Oxford – it was still a prison then, so not somewhere to visit (although I have a feeling one of our neighbours did once)!