Kicking off the festive season with Black Friday?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which originated in the US, are also ushering in the Christmas season for more and more people in Europe. The press looks at how consumer behaviour affects working conditions, traditions, habits and national economies.
No lessons learned from the pandemic
The Covid crisis should really have taught us to correct certain habits from the past, warns Geneva city councillor Pascal Holenweg in Le Courrier:
“It should be obvious that if we want to avoid further episodes of this kind we should change many things: we need to live in more autonomous communities, move more slowly, less often and over shorter distances, work less and consume less. But we're not off to a good start: first Black Friday, then late-night Christmas shopping. Everyone is dreaming of returning to 'the world as it was' - that's the world that also gave us the coronavirus. In the end, we haven't learned much from the pandemic.”
Rewriting Amazon's history
In more than 20 countries across the globe, coordinated strikes at Amazon are planned for Black Friday. The initiative MakeAmazonPay is fighting for better working conditions and wages in the company. Aftonbladet approves:
“Amazon has a slogan that says: 'Work hard. Have fun. Make history.' The protest has come up with its own slogan in response: 'Strike hard. Have fun. Make history.' Hopefully, the strike won't end up as just a footnote in history. Instead, it should be a wake-up call for any company that wants to survive in today's market.”
Discounts can also be a good thing
Český rozhlas points to certain positive aspects of Black Friday:
“A successful Black Friday can not only help the economy by giving retail sales a quick boost, but also have a positive impact on prices and thus the entire national economy. ... This year the economists are hounding us with stories of inflation, and many of us are reacting with panicked purchases of overpriced goods, fearing that soon prices will be jacked up even higher. But that only further accelerates inflation. So Black Friday is a useful reminder that goods can also become cheaper. You just have to wait for the right moment.”
New religions take the place of existing ones and reinterpret their festivals and holy days, Avvenire concludes:
“They hijack the old folk festivals and rename them, leaving the date but changing the meaning - with the rise of Christianity, the Roman Sol invinctus became Christmas, the festival of Augustus (Ferragosto) became Assumption Day, the cult of the dead became All Saints' Day. ... At the same time, new festivals have to be introduced to celebrate the special rituals of the new cult. Black Friday combines these two characteristics: it is a specific festival of the capitalist cult of consumption, but it is linked to a festival of the earlier religion, Thanksgiving, whose place it has taken. The capitalist religion is thus doing to Christianity what the latter did to Roman and indigenous cults in Europe.”