I survived Black Friday

Today, our American cousins celebrate Black Friday, a day that as far as I can tell commemorates the time the Pilgrims first headed to the outlet malls to purchase blankets, probably to replace the disease-ridden ones they’d given away the day before.

Here in Canada, of course, Black Friday is meaningless. Not that retailers let that stop them from declaring its arrival north of the border. No need to cross-border shop, bargain hunters, even if the Harper Government went out of its way earlier this year to encourage the practice. You can find deals here at home. Deals. Deals. And more deals. Stores here may not open at midnight, as many do Stateside, but, oh, let’s say 7 a.m. Will that work for you? I mean, Thursday is a school night.

And yes, dear readers — or, let’s say, reader (Hello, Terry!) — this blogger braved the mild temperature and partly-cloudy conditions this morning to head to the nearest mall for a first-hand look at the pandemonium that is Canadian Black Friday/vendredi noir canadien. Stores opened at 8 a.m., an hour later than those at nearby Bayshore. I arrived closer to 9. And I can only assume the massive crowds had by that time dispersed. I witnessed no signs of mania; no crowds; no panic attacks; and few, if any, fatalities. (Certainly, no more fatalities than usual. Carlingwood Shopping Centre is, after all, popular with seniors.)

Can it be that Canadians have rejected the importation of Black Friday? If so, what could possibly have gone wrong in retailers’ all-out efforts to generate artificial excitement? Could it be that Thanksgiving was a month ago? Could it be that the half-assed attempts to offer door-crasher must-haves fell flat with a public content to shop during normal business hours? Could it be that, oh I don’t know, today is not a holiday?

Nonetheless, I confess to having allowed myself to get caught up in some of the thrill of Black Friday shopping. I purchased five sheets of bus tickets and spent an additional $1.47 plus tax on windshield washer fluid. Canadian economy, you are welcome.

And, while the frenzied media reports from Toronto’s outlet-stores already slated to appear later today will ultimately determine the success or failure of this manufactured exercise in silliness, all signs are Black Friday has justly proved to be a non-event locally. For that I say well done, fellow Canadians! As for retailers and media, I do hope this won’t affect plans for next year’s Canadian Presidents’ Day sales.

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