27 Nov Black Friday comes to Iceland
Yesterday I was off on one of my book drop (distribution) runs around town, and along the way decided to stop off at a particular store to check out a piece of furniture we’ve been thinking of purchasing.
I had a couple of questions about it, so approached a sales lady who was working nearby. We had a brief discussion, and then she said to me in a lowered voice:
“Just wanted to let you know, though, if you’re thinking of buying this today, you should wait until tomorrow.”
I looked at her, puzzled.
“Because of that Black Friday thing.”
“Ah,” I said.
Now, I knew what she meant, because I’m a citizen of the Internet. I have seen the adverts, and (more pointedly) the insane videos of people trampling each other as they rush to be the first in line for some super-duper, only-on-this-day-and-never-again offer. I knew it, even though she said it in Icelandic, and that the phrase “svartur föstudagur” has no specific cultural relevance in Icelandic as yet – except as a direct translation of the English-language term.
She continued, in the same hushed voice: “And if you’re thinking of buying [that particular item] then you should get here before we open at 11.”
“Yes. You know, you should line up. Be one of the first in.”
As I walked away, I thought two things. One, that it was nice of her to tell me this. She was clearly breaking some store code by alerting me to the fact that the item would be heavily discounted the following day. Two … do we Icelanders really have to adopt this ridiculous tradition from the Americans? I mean, we don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving for God’s sake. Do we really need to have the nation conditioned to start blindly rushing after this like a well-trained hamster?
I’ll say this, though: If the Gods of Capitalism want a good candidate for their Black Friday Training Program, they picked the right one. Because the Icelanders are complete and utter suckers for this obscene type of marketing.
Oh, and that item I was looking at? A big ad in one of the papers today proclaimed that the first five through the door get 30 percent off.
Did I line up?