Black Friday: long live consumerism?

Stores in the US traditionally offer goods at heavily reduced prices on the Friday after Thanksgiving, ushering in the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday has also been exported to Europe and taken up by e-commerce. Commentators discuss the commercial and spiritual repercussions of the mega sale.

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Avvenire (IT) /

Archaic idol worship

Binge-buying is becoming a cult, Avvenire laments:

“If anyone still doubts that our form of capitalism is very similar to a religion, all they have to do is take a glance at the Internet and the biggest shopping centres to see what's going on. In those places where Black Friday is observed, something very like a religious phenomenon occurs. ... Because even capitalism has a growing need for rites, liturgies, processions, songs, holy words, priests and communities. ... But upon closer inspection we see that each one of these 'holy' elements lacks one or more essential components. And it's this lack that differentiates consumer capitalism from 'true' religions and brings it closer to archaic idol worship.”

Kaleva (FI) /

Shopping with real people

On Black Friday traditional retailers can show off their advantages vis-à-vis e-commerce, Kaleva points out:

“Even if sales increase, the goods on sale for up to 50 percent less don't generate an increase in profits, so that at the end of the day the results are almost unchanged despite the spectacular campaigns. ... The spread of Black Friday makes clear just how much the retail trade has changed in the past decade. With the spread of mobile payment Apps, Internet trade has continued to increase its share of the consumer market. ... Traditional retail businesses have to use every opportunity to reach out to their customers. One of these is Black Friday. Hopefully the campaign will serve to attract customers who otherwise do their shopping on the Internet, and who in this way come to appreciate the value of expert, personal advice.”