back to article It's BLOCK FRIDAY: Britain in GREED-crazed bargain bonanza mob frenzy riot MELTDOWN

The sceptred isle of old Blighty is in flames today as greed crazed mobs, both online and in the real world, stormed bricks'n'mortar shops and etail websites alike leaving blood on the linoleum and smoke belching from overstressed data centres – hosting Currys, Tesco and other box-flingers – up and down the land. Truly, these …

  1. sorry, what?


    is now available here. As long as you are able to resist the urge to queue.

    1. Badvok

      Re: America...

      Goodbye EU, welcome to the good old U.S of A. They don't call us the 51st state for nothing.

      Next we'll be joining the Independence day celebrations to celebrate the French kicking our British butts.

      1. M.Zaccone

        Re: America...

        I always celebrate July 4th. It marks getting rid of those pesky Septics.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: America...

          It's always seemed a bit strange to me that people like UKIP complain about the EU telling us what to do when the reality is that it's the US who tell us how high to jump and we then try to make a kind of poor man's copy of the worst parts of what passes for their culture.

          It's almost as if we're ashamed to be us.

          1. Only me!

            Re: America...

            Looks like a lot of people are not ashamed to be US, but are ashamed be us.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: America...


            "It's always seemed a bit strange to me that people like UKIP complain about the EU telling us what to do when the reality is that it's the US who tell us how high to jump and we then try to make a kind of poor man's copy of the worst parts of what passes for their culture."

            The difference is likely around the issue of choice. We can choose to import a US event. Retailers can choose to knock down their prices. Customers can choose to hand over as much money as they want. People can choose to be polite or borderline criminal. People have the freedom to use their brains although this assumes they know how to work it.

            The EU on the other hand is highly intertwined with that cancer called the Euro which causes the political union to act like a begger, thief and vicious thug while trying to fairly share the plunder between its den of liers, cheats and thieves. Of course they have the leadership and direction of a guantanamo bay inmate undergoing sensory deprivation and water-boarding but the group feel good because taxpayers of multiple countries have no choice but to cough up. Obviously on top of that there are the various problems of being bent over a barrel for a shafting so bad even a rough porn site wouldnt display it but that would make this post even longer! And of course this is without a choice as the main 3 parties dangle the option to leave but never quite get around to presenting the option to the people.

          3. nematoad

            Re: America...

            "It's almost as if we're ashamed to be us."

            It's got nothing to do with pride in the country, it's greed, pure and simple.

            1. Mark 85

              Re: America...

              You hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head. If a marketing technique works, it spreads to other companies, other countries. Everyone wants exposure and thus, profit. From the consumer standpoint, we buy into this because "it's a great deal and quantities are limitied". We want our shiny. The feeding frenzy works both ways.

      2. davemcwish

        Re: America...

        Apparently we already are.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: America...

        Goodbye EU, welcome to the good old U.S of A. They don't call us the 51st state for nothing.

        Next we'll be joining the Independence day celebrations to celebrate the French kicking our British butt

        Don't be so sure. Even the French now "celebrate" Black Friday (and labelled as that, not as "vendredi noir"), with special offers, late opening etc. Even Halloween is beginning to overshadow "Toussaint". US influence (I can't bring myself to say 'culture') is spreading everywhere.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: America...

        It's not just Blighty. I've just tried to access Auchan's website in France and guess what? That's down too.

        Black Friday seems to be as much of a phenomenon across the channel as it is here, with Fnac also going big on it.

        They're not even making any effort to Frenchify it... rien de Vendredi Noir for them.

  2. Alister

    From the TV coverage I've seen, half the problem seemed to be caused by gangs of press photographers and TV crews blocking access to the stores.

    It's almost like this was a carefully orchestrated event for the media...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A S D A ! Punch another shopper in the face! ADSA!

      The chanting of "a s d a ASDA!!!" in the background whilst the ready and waiting media inside the shops focus on people being the crap out of each other was especially sickening.

  3. Pedo Bear

    Buying For The Sake Of It.

    Funny thing is I was in Asda earlier and people are just buying stuff for the sake if of it, TV Brands such as Polaroid and Seiki. I've never heard of them in the TV market before.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

      "and people are just buying stuff for the sake if of it, TV Brands such as Polaroid and Seiki"

      And there you have the purpose of Black Friday. Retailers whip up a feeding frenzy with a few choice tidbits, and then throw the rotten meat to the sharks. I presume it's called Black Friday because for the next 364 days the masses rue the day they bought such poor quality crap.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Why Black Friday

        Because historically speaking people have died that day to get a good price on some crap.

        Of course now it has become a marketing event because no publicity is bad publicity, right ? And because, concerning History, Humans have memory abilities below that of gerbils.

    2. James 51

      Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

      It is a largely pointless US import but I was able to get a bunch of nappy bin sacs for half price.

      1. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

        Nope. I'm not.

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

          Dear Marjorie,

          I have not felt the slightest urge to go out and buy anything today. Is there something wrong with me that even my best friend won't tell me ?

          1. Badvok

            Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

            Or perhaps, Buying it cheap for the Sake of flogging it for a profit on ebay.

            Note: other tat bazaars are available.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

            You're a disgrace Alain,

            Get yourself down to the shops and buy yourself some nice extra, extra large imitation football shirts and don't stop eating sweets and crisps until they fit nice and snug.



          3. Phil Endecott

            Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

            > urge to go out and buy anything today.

            Hmm, Beer!

            Does that count?

          4. VinceH

            Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

            "Dear Marjorie,

            I have not felt the slightest urge to go out and buy anything today. Is there something wrong with me that even my best friend won't tell me ?"

            Dear Alain,

            The problem is quite probably that you have really, really bad body odour - and, deep down in your subconscious, you probably already know this. Your subconscious mind is therefore compensating for your serious problem by masquerading a false lack of urge to join the majority of people in the sheer, riotous joy of trying to get a bargain on yesterday's wondrous day of sales, just so that you avoid the embarrassment of people around you in the heaving crowd saying "Pheew, what's that pong? I think it's this guy here..."

            As a solution, I'd suggest going out and buying some deodorant. It would have been practical for you to have done this yesterday during the sale, when you may have been able to purchase a suitably large amount at a lower cost that usual - but that would have been something of a problem for obvious reasons.



      2. Z80

        Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

        "nappy bin sacs"

        They're called diapers now.

    3. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

      "A bargain is only a bargain if it's something you *really* want".

      I agree - buying for the sake of buying... So there's no recession any more, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

        "So there's no recession any more, right?"

        Plenty of recession still left to go round. But QE has goosed the economy a tiny, tiny bit, people here politicians wittering on about "growth", and think it's safe to spend. Sadly the wheels have just come off the Japanese economy, US consumer spending is grinding to a halt, China's finding out for the first time in recent history what happens after a boom, and the EU remains the same collection of muddle headed twerps trying and failing to solve basic problems of over-investment and excess debt with a medicine comprising extra debt and even more investment.

        But apart from that you can pick up some electronic tat cheap if you're prepared to queue and then fight for it.

    4. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.


      Some bloke crowing that he got some perfume for £45 instead of £70! FFS! Was it worth it? I bet if you went on eBay you'd probably get it for £20!

      Police being called to break up fights? People getting injured and needing ambulances? All for a few so-called sales? We're a shameful, tiny minded species sometimes.

  4. CBR600

    Cloud computing?

    So what happened to scalable on demand computing? Perhaps they should have gone with Azure?

    Is it just me or is anyone else wondering where this "Black Friday" shopping thing has come from. There was always a Black Friday, but it was the last Friday before Christmas when all employees would hit the town.

    1. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: Cloud computing?

      No, I've been asking the same thing. Apparently we dipped our toe in the water last year but I can't say I heard anything about Black Friday last year. This year - I saw ASDA advertising it - and wasn't surprised because Walmart - but then all of a sudden everyone was advertising it - even Pets at Home are advertising Black Friday deals...... A little research however shows that apparently we aren't the only country to suddenly embrace Black Friday....

      It still seems odd to me though - especially how they skipped importing Thanksgiving - wouldn't you think the supermarkets would want to jump into that one?

  5. Simon Harris

    I'll embrace Black Friday...

    when the Americans embrace test match cricket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll embrace Black Friday...

      Like trick or treat and dress down Friday, it's an American excuse to try and replace the lack of 2000 years of history with "instant gratification"

      1. Flugal

        Re: I'll embrace Black Friday...

        No interest in Black Friday, Trick or Treat, or Mother's Day (rather than Mothering Sunday), but embrace dress down Friday 100% - one shirt fewer to iron each week is fine with me.

        1. Simon Harris

          Re: I'll embrace Black Friday...

          As far as trick or treat goes, it seems the US stole the idea of Souling and Guising from the UK and Ireland, bastardised it and sent it back to us as trick or treat.

      2. Matt 21

        Re: I'll embrace Black Friday...

        America: Barbarism to hedonism in one generation without an intervening period of civilisation.

  6. Jay 2

    No melting apples

    Apple, of course, did not have this problem having decided to opt-out of Black Friday in the UK. But in the US punters still get iTunes gift cards with their purchases.

    Given they've done something the past few years, I'd be interested to know why they decided to give this year a miss.

  7. Tom Wood


    Presumably no retailer that competes with Amazon wants to use Amazon's cloud services to build a scalable website, so maybe it is understandable, if not particularly acceptable, for them to hit issues. (Curry's queue isn't great, but at least it's better than falling over in a heap).

    But if Amazon themselves can't make their website scale to fully meet the demand it doesn't say much about their own brand of cloud computing...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not their fault.

    This isn't the fault of our trans-atlantic cousins. I believe that, traditionally, there were always some bargains to be had over here at specifically this time of year, as they want people in their shops just after the last traditional pay day before christmas. Now, they've they've got a 'day' they can nail their colours to, and create scenes like we saw on the news this morning. There's nothing retailers enjoy more than a 'day'. Expect 'Happy Black Friday' cards to be on sale soon.

  9. Howard Hanek

    It appears the cultural disintegration is advancing at an ever increasing rate don't you think? Blame it on the immigration policies. Importing greed and mob frenzy is just another unintended consequence you see.

  10. The BigYin

    Dear corporate Britain

    Take this Yank import and ram it up yer arse.

    Today is a workday and it's bloody stupid to have a mega-sale when most of your customers are at work.

    I have bought nothing today, nor do I intend to.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear corporate Britain

      Not buying anything? Well I'm not going to the pub with you after work then!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear corporate Britain

      Dear rebelious BigYin,

      We don't give a flying monkey whether YOU bought anything, or intend to, as several million other Brits already have, bless them!

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Dear corporate Britain

        The sale isn't the issue, the day is.

        I also have the quaint idea that retail stores should open 1200-2000, rather than 0900-1700. This woyld give them better overlap with their customers. Also, it would partially alleviate rush hour.

        I did look at a few black slaes after work, but anything of interest was either not on sales, or only a couple of pounds off; no mega-deals.

  11. codejunky Silver badge


    On various forums I have seen comments about capitalism or consumerism or blaming the corporations etc. Yet this assumes that people are mindless moronic things that are incapable of thought or reason (and from some of the video's there is support for that argument) so this surely demonstrates an event caused by the stupid, and mindless people who make up these raging shoppers. Why is it the retailers fault that creatures we are surely embarrassed to acknowledge as related to our species never mind actually being of the same species are causing these problems? This surely says more about the people who think a cheap TV is worth more than common courtesy and the vile animals they demonstrate themselves to be.

    I have also seen statements amusing that people in the US are stupid etc and we are importing this madness, which is somewhat available to read on this comment board. However this surely demonstrates that instead of Americans being the owners of the stupidity we too in this lovely country have the same mindless and in some cases hostile imbeciles in our shared genetic make-up.

    Also there seems to be a minor memory lapse of a little recession which seemed to cause an amount of uproar that bankers cared little for anyone but themselves and so delighted in treading over their fellow wo/man those hateful little creatures. Except the display of greed and self serving behaviour is caught on camera at a store near you! Yey. I feel so proud. I remember people (me included) thinking it was insane that people behaved like that, and yet we have the same people here!

    So if its the retailers fault I wonder if their staff is at the homes of these people holding guns to their family and forcing them to behave like this or if this is the nature of the people who I suspect would turn and blame the retailer for providing the discounts on products they didnt need but picked up just to have something (so claimed one woman about a dyson vacuum when she really wanted a TV).

    I also wonder how much lavish spending will be on credit cards with a great difficulty (or at least not ease) to pay back. But I am sure people will be happy walking out with 5 TV's because they were reduced (as that is obviously a good reason) or items lifted off other customers in the fray because everyone wants something. Accusations of lavish and insane spending habits were also levelled at the banks and the labour gov (unless your a supporter of them to which spending money you dont have is great!) and now we have the same from a general population level.

    I think black friday is a time of recognition. A time to see that the practices we hate the most and may see as criminal if not irresponsible and morally wrong are unfortunately a part of a lot of people at various levels of society. And then there are those who look in from the outside and wonder what the hell is wrong with these people.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


      From "Hyperinflation and Hyperreality: Thomas Mann in Light of Austrian Economics" by Paul A. Cantor

      ... If modernity is characterized by a loss of the sense of the real, this fact is connected to what has happened to money in the twentieth century. Everything threatens to become unreal once money ceases

      to be real. I said that a strong sense of counterfeit reality prevails in "Disorder and Early Sorrow." That fact is ultimately to be traced to the biggest counterfeiter of them all - the government and its printing presses. Hyperinflation occurs when a government starts printing all the money it wants, that is to say, when the government becomes a counterfeiter. Inflation is that moment when as a result of government action the distinction between real money and fake money begins to dissolve. That is why inflation has such a corrosive effect on society. Money is one of the primary measures of value in any society, perhaps the primary one, the principal repository of value. As such, money is a central source of stability, continuity, and coherence in any community. Hence to tamper with the basic money supply is to tamper with a community's sense of value. By making money worthless, inflation threatens to undermine and dissolve all sense of value in a society. Thus Mann suggests a connection between inflation and nihilism.

      Perhaps in no society has nihilism ever been as prevalent an attitude as it was in Weimar Germany; it was reflected in all the arts, and ultimately in politics. It would of course be wrong to view this nihilism as solely the product of an inflationary environment. Obviously Weimar Germany faced many other problems, some the legacy of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles, some the legacy of nineteenth-century German thinkers such a s Nietzsche. But as Mann's story reminds us, we should not underestimate the role of inflation in creating the pervasive sense of nihilism in Weimar Germany. A glance at the back of an American dollar bill shows two phrases: "United States of America" and "In God We Trust." Somehow our money is connected with our political and even our religious beliefs. Shake a people's faith in their money, and you will shake their other faiths a s well. This problem has become particularly acute in the twentieth century, because ours is the age of paper money, money that has to be taken on faith alone. That is why we have to put "In God We Trust" on the back of our dollars; nobody really trusts the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. In "Disorder and Early Sorrow," Mann invites us to consider what happens to our lives when we are forced to take our money purely on faith and that faith is betrayed by the government.

      1. Irony Deficient

        … in whom we trust

        Destroy All Monsters, In God We Trust was put on the larger denomination “real money” silver and gold coins in 1866, just after the slaughter of 1861 – 1865, well before the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Money of any form whatsoever will continue to be “real” as long as governments are granted the power to tax and those taxes can only be paid in those forms of money.

      2. Anonymous Coward 101

        Re: Consider....


  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    I just heard that Jean-Claude Juncker wants to pull EUR 300 billion out of his arseof the print shop.

    Consumer demand will skyrocket, this should blackenize the black Friday to further shades of utter black, thus boosting the economy.

    The final solution is near.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Woah

      Yep, its called QE (or that part raised by the ECB is).

      Its interesting that central bankers around the world are starting to worry over low inflation(or even disinflation) when they've been quite unconcerned about (way) above-target inflation for years. Its almost like they live in a different world where they don't have to live with rising prices and falling incomes.

  13. Omgwtfbbqtime

    Damn it

    I need to get some essentials on the way home tonight, you know, eggs, bacon, cider, that sort of thing.

    Am I still going to have to deal with the frenzied sale-ites?

    Wish I'd packed my armour this morning.

  14. Zog_but_not_the_first


    Upvotes for all the grumpies above. Maybe people are just sheep after all. Sad.

    I'm off to the bar for a Bud. Arggh! I mean to the pub for one of these.

  15. Amorous Cowherder

    "Poor porn"

    Sadly this black day was black in more than ways than one. Scenes of such stupidity, people behaving like spoilt brats at a party when there was no jelly or ice cream. Black stain on our character as a nation more like, to swallow this rubbish from across the pond.

    Sadly on social media it simply turned into "poor porn", commenters watching and laughing as people fought over plastic gadgets they really don't want or need, simply buying because the bullshit from the retailers told them there were bargains. A few morsels to wet the appetite and the rest of the crap they can't shift is knocked down by 15% tops.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black Eyes.

    I might come over as a bit of a snob, but i toured the shops this morning and really couldn't find anything that i would consider a 'Premium' brand being sold on the cheap. So once again the retailers have their little joke on us and we keep falling for it. It was quite amusing to watch my fellow human beings squabble over a Blaupunkt LCD tv in Tescos....didn't desend into fisticuffs, which was disappointing, but with the 'January Sales' (not) around the corner i'll keep my fingers crossed.

  17. Chronos

    Perspective, people.

    You know you're a shallow materialist when getting some cheap tat is worth looking like an ill-mannered tosser running with a flock of other ill-mannered tossers.

    Black Friday: Put a steak on it, the swelling may go down. Or was that eyes?

  18. Christoph

    Perhaps they could make a series of films about the battles and carnage of people trying to grab bargains.

    "The Plunder Games"

  19. Haro

    Canadians more civil

    We have Black Friday week, and the sales aren't that great. Haven't heard of fights here, but the real enthusiasts slip over the border. :)

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Canadians more civil

      The TV news seemed to be sad that they could not find any US style films of people fighting or getting crushed to death in Canada. Crappy cell phone videos of people fighting over a toaster in the US are old hat now. They did find a couple fight videos from England so they went with them.

  20. skeptical i

    Sad, but it works. So it will continue.

    If china-crap-mart and the rest see that the annual cheap-tat flog-a-thon boosts sales figures to an appreciable level, it will be repeated. The consumers get their bread and circuses all under one roof. Win-win, right? Alas, I don't see this turd being shoved back whence it came.

  21. Anna Logg


    Judging by photos of the scene at my local one they're now operating a "Kick n'collect" service

  22. Omgwtfbbqtime

    In case anyone hasn't had their fix yet-

    Asda Boldon still has a fine selection of wares including discounted Panasonic Viera 32" TVs.

    It was surprisingly civilised at 6:30pm.

    All I bought was cider, bacon and eggs, I'm sorted.

  23. Dave Bell

    The local Tesco, a relatively ordinary branch and not one of the 24-hour shops, had a small table on which were stacked "HD-ready" TVs with a 19-inch screen and a DVD player. Nobody seemed to be buying them.

    Black Friday seems to depend on people who don't depend on public transport, which is entirely shut down around here overnight. Neither the staff not the customers can get to the stores without a car of their own. From my experience, this might be different in the bigger cities. There are night buses in London, but what other choices are there? I think the DLR and Underground could be closed.

    So the whole idea seems to depend on their being people with more money than sense. And are there really going to be people able to do useful work after storming the Black Friday sales?

    1. EJ

      @ Dave Bell

      What could be more American than being anti-public transportation?

      On behalf of my country, let me apologize for this whole Black Friday nonsense. Many in the States are sickened by the behaviors it causes. Personally I take great pride in not even stepping foot out the door on most Black Fridays (my government agency has the day off), but this year I was dragged out to help my mother-in-law purchase a new vehicle. The Big Three auto manufacturers here decided to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon, and were offering supposed discounts and specials. Ford was offering a $1000 Amazon gift card with any new car purchase, but of course the dolts here don't conclude that it would be far simpler to just have Ford take that amount off the purchase price of the car in the first place. Like the Amazon gift card magically appears out of nowhere...

      GM was offering 20% off leftover 2014 models, which according to a buddy who works for a GM dealership, was a great deal if you could find a leftover that fit your needs. Thus, I agreed to go help negotiate.

  24. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Cue the (non)apologies...

    ...from the bosses of the likes of Tesco, Asda and their ilk which will effectively put the blame on the shoppers (who rightly ought to bear much of the blame), but the big retailers will, of course, do exactly the same thing again next year.

    Judging by the video clips on the news, the sort of people bursting through the doors at opening time and racing to grab big flat screen tellys, it was the "Jeremy Kyle guest-types" who are likely to be shotr of cash for shiny-shiny. Maybe I'm stereo-typing, but that's what the video suggests. It was also obvious, but of course the shop bosses "didn't expect this". It's not as if they don't have decades of Boxing Day and January sales to refer back to.

  25. Gene Cash Silver badge


    As a loyal American, I spent my Black Friday under my electric blanket snoozing.

    There's no way in hell I'm going out on the roads jam-packed with idiots (even more so than usual) or shops stuffed with inconsiderate impolite assholes (even more so than usual)

    I actually do need groceries and various things for the garage, but that can wait a couple days.

    While Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (sit with friends and eat good food) Christmas really is the worst time of the year.

  26. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    I must live under a rock....

    I know of the American "black Friday" event, but honestly had no idea it had come here until reading this website this morning.

    Guess I've missed out!

    Sales..... A funny old game. When people realise that sales are not due to the shop feeling charitable to consumers, maybe the mad frenzy will end.

    As for Black Friday, if I owned a large chain of stores, I'd advertise "Black Thursday" and clear my stock of tat a day earlier, and presumably without needing to apply as much of a discount as I would if I was competing with everyone else.

    But i guess that's why i'm not in business.

  27. Mark 85

    Black Friday and the build up to it is

    the chum to draw the sharks...err... customers in and whip them into a feeding frenzy of buying which ends on Christmas Eve. If I were to participate as one of the sharks... err... customers, I want a frikkin' laser on my head.

  28. Stevie


    You can't really call it Black Friday until you've had a few deaths and a trampled child or six.

    My wife and I are shopping for a flat screen TV of decent size here in New York. I told her that I had zero interest in clawing my way through crowds to save a few pennies and would be doing my shopping after the bodies had been dragged away and the blood spills mopped up.

    It is worth however many hundred dollars not saved to avoid dealing with Sale-Crazed Consumerloons and the terminally fed-up by lunchtime staff hired to serve them.

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