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The Guardian view on Black Friday: a triumph of imagination | Editorial

Recreational shopping is not about collecting objects so much as experiences

On Thursday, nothing out of the ordinary will happen in Britain. Millions of people will get up and go to work as normal; families will remain widely dispersed; shops will be open as usual; and at the end of the day the nation will gather for its traditional meals of takeaway and microwaved convenience foods eaten in front of a screen. In the US, by contrast, it will be the feast of Thanksgiving, when the whole country shuts down and families gather from across vast distances for a ritual meal celebrating America’s founding myth. An anthropologist might well suppose that this was the most important festival of the year, far more so than Christmas. No one would dare declare a war on Thanksgiving. So it makes a kind of sense that the day after be given over to the frenzy of shopping.

It makes no sense at all for Black Friday to be transplanted to Britain. There is nothing at all special about the day in the British social calendar. Even in the retail calendar it falls squarely in the middle of the runup to Christmas, which nowadays starts some time in early October, so that there are already angels watching over the crowds in Oxford Street in central London, while in Bradford the Christmas decorations went up even earlier.

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